Deepwater Horizon Update June 24, 2010
June 24, 2010
Offshore Drilling Moratorium: Judge denies government's request
U.S. District Judge Martin Feldman in New Orleans, Louisiana, issued a preliminary injunction against the six-month ban Tuesday. The government asked Feldman to delay lifting the ban until an appeals court reviewed the issue later this summer.
In an emergency hearing Thursday, the judge denied the government's motion to stay his decision pending appeal "for the same reasons given" Tuesday for issuing the injunction.
The government now has 30 days to show it is beginning to comply with Feldman's order and start accepting permit applications. The appeals process can continue, however.
Numbers to date:
66 days: Oil has been leaking
35,000-60,000: barrels leaking per day *
99-165 million: Total gallons spilled, according to government estimates
6,210: Vessels responding
1,464,000: Gallons of dispersant used
25 million: Gallons of oil and water mix recovered
78,579: Square miles of federal waters closed to fishing
*60,000 barrels a day is equal to 1 Exxon Valdez spill every 4 days
Oil coats Pensacola Beach
No swimming and health advisory signs have been posted at Pensacola Beach as the largest onslaught of crude washes ashore. More than 9 miles of the white sand beaches are covered in tar balls and thick oil.
In nearby Ft. Pickens a young oiled bottlenose dolphin was found near shore, a witness carried the dolphin on shore where beach goers kept the dolphin wet until wildlife rescue workers arrived. It later died.
Oil has also washed up on nearby Perdido Key, where workers cleaned up 8 tons of tar balls.
More skimmers are arriving in the area to prevent more oil from reaching the shore. Florida Gulf counties have said they need more money to be able to continue clean up efforts, and they are not receiving responses from BP.
Animal death toll
Birds: 1,024 dead |753 oiled but alive | 93 cleaned and released
Sea Turtles: 407 dead | 84 oiled but alive| 3 cleaned and released
Mammals: 47 dead | 1 oiled but alive | 1 cleaned and released
Numbers are expected to be much higher but scientists cannot locate all the animals due to the large size of the affected area. Scientists believe most wildlife affected are sinking to the bottom of the ocean and will never be account for.
*These are the consolidated numbers of collected fish and wildlife that have been reported to the Unified Area Command from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), incident area commands, rehabilitation centers and other authorized sources operating within the Deepwater Horizon/BP incident impact area.
June 23, 2010
Containment Cap Removed, later replaced
Wednesday morning at approximately 8:45 a.m. CDT, a discharge of liquids was observed from a diverter valve on the drill ship Discoverer Enterprise, which is on station at the MC252 well-site. As a precautionary measure, the lower marine riser package (LMRP) containment cap system, attached to the Discover Enterprise, was moved off the Deepwater Horizon's failed blow-out preventer to ensure the safety of operations and allow the unexpected release of liquids to be analyzed.
Capture of oil and gas through the LMRP cap was suspended until the cap was later re-installed late Wednesday. Capture of oil and gas through the BOP's choke line to the Q4000 vessel on the surface continued while the cap was being repaired.
Containing the leak The USCG Update
•As of midnight Tuesday 27,097 barrels were collected, a new high. A combination of the Discover Enterprise which did 16,668 barrel, and the Q4000 which flared off natural gas and oil of 10,429 barrels.
•The first freestanding riser pipe has been installed. They tested for pressure leaks Wednesday. Officials expect to bring an additional production vessel in by next Tuesday, which will increase containment to 53,000 barrel’s a day.
•Containment efforts have been suspended due to sever weather conditions in the region. (as of June 23 at 7 PM)
Click here to view live footage of the leaking well.
Louisiana governor outraged over government stop on dredging
The dredging operation to protect Louisiana's coast lines was stopped Wednesday due to environmental concerns. Gov. Jindal called on the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Army Corps of Engineers to let workers resume dredging off the Chandeleur Islands. The dredging would be followed by construction of berms in hopes the offshore berms would block oil before it hit the beach. Scientist and environmental officials are concerned about the long term impacts the dredging will have on erosion of the barrier islands. Despite Gov. Jindal's promise that all the dredged sand will be replaced, operations remain at a stand still until an agreed upon plan can be reached.
Jordan Barab, Deputy to Secretary of Labor for OSHA, responds to worker safety concerns
• Workers have been tested and show no chemical exposure levels of any concern
• The main worker health and safety concern is the heat. Workers wear Tyvek suits with chemical protective suits and gloves which only adds to the high heat problem. Several workers have been hospitalized due to dehydration and fatigue.
Despite this 407 oil exposure complaints had been reported to the American Association of Poison Control Centers. In Louisiana, more than 100 oil spill-related illnesses were reported, 74 of them from workers hired by BP.
Patients have complained of nausea, dizziness, severe headaches, skin irritation and shortness of breath, which is an indication an indication of chemical exposure or chemical irritant.
Dudley appointed CEO of BP’s Gulf Coast Restoration Organization
Bob Dudley, a Mississippi native, will oversee BP’s long-term response to the oil spill.
From BP: “The new organization will manage all aspects of the response to the Deepwater Horizon incident and the oil and gas spill in the Gulf of Mexico, ensuring that BP fulfils its promises to the people of the Gulf Coast and continues its work to restore the region’s environment. BP’s decision to establish this new organization in no way limits the resources that are available to meet the company’s commitments to clean up the spill and restore the Gulf Coast. BP’s Exploration and Production Segment will remain accountable for all activities relating to killing the MC252 exploratory well and containing the flow of oil and gas into the Gulf of Mexico. Specifically, the newly-formed Gulf Coast Restoration Organization will:
•continue executing clean-up operations and all associated remediation activities;
•coordinate with government officials, including with the National Incident Commander, Admiral Thad Allen, and the governors and local officials in the Gulf States, to meet BP’s commitments as effectively and efficiently as possible;
•keep the public informed of BP’s clean-up and remediation activities;
•implement the $20 billion escrow account that BP announced as evidence of its commitment to compensate those individuals, businesses, and others who have been impacted by the spill; and
•continue to evaluate the spill’s impact on the environment.
A hurricane’s affect on clean up efforts
Admiral Allen says in the event of a hurricane 6-7 days notice is needed to evacuate the vessels involved with containment. There is also concern for the stability of the vessels in the area in the event of a hurricane. Seas of 8 feet or greater hinder their ability to be effective.
2 clean-up workers dead
Adm. Thad Allan announced Wednesday that 2 oil recovery workers have died. One in a swimming incident; the other an apparent suicide. Allen Kruse,55, who had been a charter fishing boat captain for more than two decades was found with a single shot to head in the captain's bridge of his charter vessel. Kruse had no physical or mental health problems and was not on medication. His crew reported that he seemed his usual self Wednesday morning and had told them to get ice, upon return they found him dead. Kruse had been a fishing charter for more than 20 years and with no where to fish, had included his vessel in the clean-up efforts.
Mental health experts speculate the huge impact the oil spill has on the livelihood of gulf coast residents could cause depression. Kruse did not leave a note.
All that is known of the second death is that it was a swimming accident.
June 22, 2010
President Obama Meets with the Cabinet to Discuss Economy, Iraq, BP Oil Spill and Energy and Climate Legislation
Administration Wide Response
Administration Releases its First Scientific Report on Subsea Monitoring Data
NOAA, EPA and White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) today released the first peer reviewed, analytical summary report about the subsea monitoring in the vicinity of the Deepwater Horizon wellhead—which contains analysis of samples taken by the R/V Brooks McCall, a research vessel conducting water sampling from half a mile to nine miles of the wellhead—part of continued efforts to engage the brightest scientific minds to confront the worst environmental disaster the country has ever faced.
The report comes from the Joint Analysis Group (JAG), which was established to facilitate cooperation and coordination among the best scientific minds across the government and provide a coordinated analysis of information related to subsea monitoring in the Gulf of Mexico. This comprehensive analysis helps define the characteristics of the water and presence of oil below the surface in the area close to the wellhead from May 8-25.
Federal and Local Officials Hold Joint Open House Meeting in Orleans Parish
As part of continued efforts to inform Louisiana residents on the BP oil spill response and available assistance, representatives from the Coast Guard, Fish and Wildlife Service, EPA, and state and local governments held their fifth joint open house meeting in Orleans Parish.
Experts from the various agencies participating in the BP oil spill response were on hand to discuss a variety of topics with Parish residents—including the claims process, volunteer and contracting opportunities, environmental quality, worker safety and the various tools, equipment and strategies being used in the response. Previous meetings were held in Cameron Parish, St. Bernard Parish, Jefferson Parish and St. Mary’s Parish.
FWS Returns 63 Birds to the Wild in Largest Release of Rehabilitated Birds to Date
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service released 62 rehabilitated brown pelicans and one rehabilitated northern gannet at the Aransas National Wildlife Refuge on the Texas Coast—the largest release of rehabilitated birds since the spill began—part of continued efforts by FWS and National Park Service personnel to protect Gulf Coast wildlife and habitats from the effects of the BP oil spill. Currently, FWS has 499 personnel in the Gulf to coordinate and supervise search and capture for oiled wildlife and help facilitate recovery and treatment.
Oil Removed from Water by Controlled Burn Operations Surpasses 10 Million Gallons
As part of a coordinated response that combines tactics deployed above water, below water, offshore, and close to coastal areas, controlled burns efficiently remove oil from the open water in an effort to protect shoreline and wildlife. In total, 275 burns have been conducted to remove more than 10 million gallons of oil from the water.
NOAA Opens More Than 8,000 Square Miles of Fishing Closed Area in the Gulf of Mexico
NOAA has opened more than 8,000 square miles of previously closed fishing area in the Gulf of Mexico, because the agency has not observed oil in the area. The most significant opening is an area due south of Mississippi. Additionally, some smaller areas were opened off the Louisiana and central Florida coasts. These areas were initially closed as a precautionary measure to ensure the safety of seafood from the Gulf because oil was projected to be within those areas.
The closed area now represents 78,597 square miles—approximately 32.5 percent—of federal waters in the Gulf of Mexico. This closure does not apply to any state waters. This leaves more than 67 percent of Gulf federal waters available for fishing. Details can be found at http://sero.nmfs.noaa.gov/.
Approved SBA Economic Injury Assistance Loans Surpass $5.94 Million
SBA has approved 98 economic injury assistance loans to date, totaling more than $5.94 million for small businesses in the Gulf Coast impacted by the BP oil spill. Additionally, the agency has granted deferments on 465 existing SBA disaster loans in the region, totaling more than $2.13 million per month in payments. For information on assistance loans for affected businesses, visit the SBA’s Web site at www.sba.gov/services/disasterassistance, call (800) 659-2955 (800-877-8339 for the hearing impaired), or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Administration Continues to Oversee BP’s Claims Process
The administration will continue to hold the responsible parties accountable for repairing the damage, and repaying Americans who’ve suffered a financial loss as a result of the BP oil spill. To date, 72,563 claims have been opened, from which more than $123 million have been disbursed. No claims have been denied to date. There are 731 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. Additional information about the BP claims process and all available avenues of assistance can be found at www.disasterassistance.gov.