Ed. Note: For more information on federal response resources, volunteer opportunities, and assistance for those in affected areas visit WhiteHouse.gov/Deepwater-BP-Oil-Spill.
On Friday morning, President Obama will travel to the Louisiana Gulf Coast to assess the latest efforts to counter the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill. The President will join more than 22,000 people in the region, including many of the brightest scientific minds from both the public and private sector, who are working around the clock to mitigate the oil's impact. Below is the latest in the ongoing Administration-wide response provided by the Joint Information Center.
Heidi Avery is White House Deputy Homeland Security Advisor
The Ongoing Administration-Wide Response to the Deepwater BP Oil Spill
Prepared by the Joint Information Center
UPDATED May 25, 2010 7 PM
SBA Approves $571,000 in New Economic Injury Loans for Impacted Small Businesses
The U.S. Small Business Administration has approved 15 economic injury assistance loans totaling $571,000 for small businesses in the Gulf Coast region. Additionally, the agency has granted deferments on 64 existing SBA disaster loans in the region.
SBA is offering economic injury loans and deferrals on existing loans to fishing and fishing-dependent small businesses as a result of the Deepwater BP oil spill that shut down commercial and recreational fishing waters. Additionally, homeowners in the region who have existing SBA disaster home loans can request a deferment if their business or employment has been impacted by the oil spill.
NOAA Ship is Dispatched to Deploy Special U.S. Navy Monitoring Instruments in Gulf
The NOAA Ship Thomas Jefferson is underway on a mission to deploy a variety of U.S. Navy ocean monitoring instruments in the vicinity of the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill. The floats, drifters and autonomous underwater vehicles will aid researchers in monitoring the surface and deep currents that are distributing the oil. Of particular interest is the Loop Current and its potential to spread the oil to a much wider area.
Fishing Restrictions Are Expanded; More than 77 Percent Remains Open
NOAA has extended the closed fishing area in the Gulf of Mexico to match the Louisiana state waters closure west of the current boundaries, and to incorporate an area reportedly with oil in the southwest. Closing fishing in these areas is a precautionary measure to ensure that seafood from the Gulf will remain safe for consumers.
The closed area now represents 54,096 square miles, which is slightly more than 22 percent of Gulf of Mexico federal waters. This leaves more than 77 percent of Gulf federal waters still available for fishing. The closure will be effective at 6:00 p.m. EDT. Details can be found at http://sero.nmfs.noaa.gov/.
Property Damage Claims Processed
The administration will continue to hold the responsible parties accountable for repairing the damage and repaying Americans who’ve suffered a financial loss. BP continues to process claims via its claims website (www.bp.com/claims) and its helpline (1-800-440-0858). BP reports that 25,227 claims have been opened, from which $29.4 million has been disbursed. No claims have been denied at this time. There are more than 432 claims adjusters on the ground. To file a claim, visit www.bp.com/claims or call BP’s helpline at 1-800-440-0858. Those who have already pursued the BP claims process and are not satisfied with BP’s resolution, can call the Coast Guard at (800) 280-7118.
National Park Disaster Recovery Fund is Launched
The National Park Foundation and the National Park Service has established the National Parks Disaster Recovery Fund to help national parks recover from future natural and manmade disasters. The fund was immediately activated to begin raising funds that will be available to Gulf parks for immediate needs throughout the oil spill disaster as well as long-term monitoring of the health of damaged ecosystems.
No funds raised will be used to mitigate the liability of any responsible parties for the injuries caused by the oil spill.
Individuals wishing to support this effort may visit www.nationalparks.org, or text “PARKS” to 90999 on their mobile device to make a $10 donation. Funds raised between now and July 1, 2010, will go directly to the impacted parks in the Gulf and support critical and immediate needs as well as sustained scientific study of maintenance of impacted ecosystems.
National Guard Activation
Secretary Gates has authorized use of Title 32 status for up to 17,500 National Guard members in four states: Alabama (3,000), Florida (2,500), Louisiana (6,000) and Mississippi (6,000). A total of 1,414 troops have been activated across the four states and are responding.
By the Numbers to Date:
- Personnel were quickly deployed and more than 20,000 are currently responding to protect the shoreline and wildlife.
- More than 1,200 vessels are responding on site, including skimmers, tugs, barges, and recovery vessels to assist in containment and cleanup efforts—in addition to dozens of aircraft, remotely operated vehicles, and multiple mobile offshore drilling units.
- More than 1.8 million feet of containment boom and 990,000 feet of sorbent boom have been deployed to contain the spill—and approximately 325,000 feet of containment boom and 1 million feet of sorbent boom are available.
- Approximately 11 million gallons of an oil-water mix have been recovered.
- Approximately 830,000 gallons of total dispersant have been deployed—700,000 on the surface and 130,000 subsea. More than 360,000 gallons are available.
- 17 staging areas are in place and ready to protect sensitive shorelines, including: Dauphin Island, Ala., Orange Beach, Ala., Theodore, Ala., Panama City, Fla., Pensacola, Fla., Port St. Joe, Fla., St. Marks, Fla., Amelia, La., Cocodrie, La., Grand Isle, La., Shell Beach, La., Slidell, La., St. Mary, La.; Venice, La., Biloxi, Miss., Pascagoula, Miss., and Pass Christian, Miss.