Saturday, May 29, 2010

Deepwater BP Oil Spill

Deepwater BP Oil Spill
"We're going to do everything in our power to protect our natural resources, compensate those who have been harmed, rebuild what has been damaged, and help this region persevere like it has done so many times before."

-- President Barack Obama, Venice, Louisiana

Information on Spill-Related Damages and Claims
Fishermen and those affected by the BP Oil Spill who wish to contact BP about a claim should call 1-800-440-0858. For those who have already pursued the BP claims process and are not satisfied with BP’s resolution, can call the Coast Guard at 1-800-280-7118. For more information on assistance for small business owners and others in affected areas, visit

What You Can Do
•Request volunteer information and register to volunteer: (866)-448-5816
•Submit your vessel as a vessel of opportunity skimming system or submit alternative response technology, services or products:
(281) 366-5511
•Report oiled or injured wildlife: 1-866-557-1401
•Report oil on land: 1-866-448-5816
State specific volunteer opportunities:

Federal Response Resources
Check out the links below to find out how federal departments and agencies are responding to the Deepwater BP Oil Spill:

Joint Information Center
At the beginning of the event, the Coast Guard elevated the response and established a Regional Command Center and Joint Information Center in Robert, La., inviting all partners in the response to join. Get the latest updates from the partners on the ground in the Gulf Coast:

Department of Homeland Security (DHS)
Since the moments after the oil rig explosion on the night of April 20, DHS has played a lead role in federal response efforts—deploying the U.S. Coast Guard to search and rescue the 126 people aboard the rig, and quickly leading efforts to establish a command center on the Gulf Coast to address the potential environmental impact of the event and to coordinate with all state and local governments. Secretary Napolitano leads the National Response Team, an organization of 16 federal departments and agencies responsible for coordinating emergency preparedness and response to oil and hazardous substance pollution events.

U.S. Coast Guard
The Coast Guard has played a major role from the very beginning, when it responded to the explosion on a search and rescue mission to save lives. Pursuant to the National Contingency Plan, Rear Admiral Mary Landry was named the Federal On-Scene Coordinator to lead a Regional Response Team which was stood up that included DHS, DOC/NOAA, DOI and the EPA, as well as state and local representatives. As the event escalated, Coast Guard Admiral Thad Allen was announced as the National Incident Commander for the administration’s continued, coordinated response—providing additional coordinated oversight in leveraging every available resource to respond to the BP oil spill and minimize the associated environmental risks.

Department of the Interior (DOI)
The morning after the explosion, Secretary of the Interior deployed Deputy Secretary David J. Hayes to the Gulf Coast to assist with coordination and response to the event, and provide hourly reports back to the administration. Since then, DOI has played a vital role in overseeing BP’s response efforts while—at the President’s request—working to deliver a report with recommendations on what, if any, additional safety measures should be required for offshore operations. Secretary Salazar has announced that inspections of all deepwater rigs and platforms are underway.

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
Since the BP Oil Spill, EPA has provided full support to the U.S. Coast Guard and is monitoring and responding to potential public health and environmental concerns. Environmental data, including air quality and water samples, will be posted and frequently updated on this site as it is collected and validated by EPA’s response teams along the impacted coastlines. This data is meant to determine potential risks to public health and the environment:

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
As the nation’s leading scientific resource for oil spills, NOAA has been on the scene of the Deepwater Horizon spill from the start, providing coordinated scientific weather and biological response services to federal, state and local organizations:
Weather Forecast:

Small Business Administration
SBA is making low-interest loans available to small businesses in the Gulf Coast regions of Alabama, Florida, Louisiana and Mississippi suffering financial losses following the April 20 Deepwater BP oil spill that shut down commercial and recreational fishing in the Gulf of Mexico. SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) are available immediately in designated counties and parishes of each of the four states to help meet the financial needs of qualifying small businesses following the oil spill:

Department of Defense (DOD)
DOD continues to support the ongoing response effort by lending Naval and Air Force bases to provide vital staging areas for boom deployments and other activities, and providing C-130 aircraft equipped with Modular Aerial Spray Systems, which dispense chemical dispersant—capable of covering up to 250 acres per flight. DOD also plays a significant role in the National Response Team, helping to lead the coordination of response actions for the federal government. Secretary of Defense 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).

Department of the Interior’s Fish and Wildlife Service
The Fish and Wildlife Service continues to support the joint agency response to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico with experienced specialists, land managers, and support personnel. Booms to capture and deflect anticipated oil are being deployed at Breton National Wildlife Refuge, where thousands of brown pelicans and shorebirds are currently nesting. The Service also is initiating Natural Resource Damage Assessment and Restoration activities in this incident to assess and address the long-term damage to impacted resources:

Department of the Interior’s National Park Service
The National Park Service is focused on human safety and resource protection in eight national parks in the Gulf area. These parks are working to assess resources, collect baseline data, coordinate boom placements, plan for responsible cleanup, install barriers for shore bird and turtle nest protection, and plan for potential park closures, if necessary:

National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
Oil spill response workers may be exposed to many different chemical, physical, biological, and psychological hazards. These hazards vary depending on the type and location of the oil spill, type and stage of response, degree of coordination between entities involved in response and recovery, and the workers’ specific tasks. Therefore, occupational and environmental hazards need to be identified, assessed, and monitored in each oil spill response:

Daily Updates
A chronology of the ongoing administration-wide response to the Deepwater BP Oil Spill, beginning on April 20, is available here.

Information on Air, Food, and Water Safety
Air: With the prevalence of vapor concerns from oil near the Gulf coast and the controlled burning to help contain the spread of oil, air quality is a health concern. EPA has initiated an air monitoring effort to ensure the safety of local residents and track any developing air quality changes.

Food: Although crude oil has the potential to taint seafood with flavors and odors caused by exposure to hydrocarbon chemicals, the public should not be concerned about the safety of seafood in stores at this time. There is no reason to believe that any contaminated product has made its way to the market.

Water: NOAA is restricting fishing for a minimum of ten days in federal waters most affected by the BP oil spill, largely between Louisiana state waters at the mouth of the Mississippi River to waters off Florida’s Pensacola Bay. The closure is effective immediately. Fishermen who wish to contact BP about a claim should call 1-800-440-0858.

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