DEEPWATER HORIZON Update June 8, 2010
TransOcean employee expressed safety concern
Jason Anderson, 35 a toolpusher for TransOcean on the Deepwater Horizon told his wife Shelly that he was concerned about BP’s safety practices on the rig. He said the crew was getting pressure from BP to do things out of proper procedure to finish the well faster. In the past Jason had worked on BP wells and had felt the same pressure to hurry, but this time it was worse and he was more concerned than ever. Jason was so concerned that in the days just before returning to the rig he had a will drawn up and he spent time showing his wife how to do things around the house in case something happened to him. He also spoke a lot of the hopes he had for their daughter and son.
Jason was one of the 11 men who were killed in the explosion on April 20th. Survivors of the blast say Jason saved many lives by doing everything he could to control the pressure in the final minutes before the explosion, allowing others to escape in time. Anderson had worked aboard the Deepwater Horizon since its launch in 2001 and had been promoted to senior tool pusher at a new post, another rig known as the Discoverer Spirit. Jason was scheduled to be transferred by helicopter to his new post at 7 AM on April 21st, but just 9 hours prior to his lift off the rig the exploded.
Cap is collecting more oil every day
According to the coast guard the current device is collecting about 466,200 gallons of oil per day, which is anywhere from about 35%-75% of the governments estimate of the daily amount that has been leaking for the last 7 weeks. However, experts say the amount is much higher, in the million of gallons a day every day since the explosion, and the amount being collected is only a fraction.
BP plans next to replace the cap collecting the crude with a slightly bigger device next month. The new cap should provide a tighter fit and capture more oil.
Obama to Reopen Offshore Drilling
The Obama administration said Monday that it will move quickly to release new safety requirements that would allow the reopening of offshore oil and gas exploration in shallow waters.
The current 6-month halt of offshore drilling threatens the loss of thousands of jobs, adding insult to injury for many gulf coast residents.
The new drilling regulations are expected to require drillers to have independent operators certify that the blowout preventers work as designed to shut off the flow of oil. Independent operators will also certify the well design plan is adequate, including proper casing, or cement lining. In addition the driller certifies it is in compliance with all regulations and have done all needed tests.
Florida Beaches are OPEN
Florida beaches are open despite tar balls and small globs of oil washing up on the pristine white sand beaches of the panhandle. Workers are on site to conduct immediate clean up as the oil washes ashore.
White House Supports lifting the cap on liability damages
The White House also said Monday that it supported lifting the cap on liability damages altogether for any oil companies drilling offshore. The current cap is $75 million unless the government can show criminal negligence. The legislative package is awaiting approval.
Wildlife rescuers work to save birds
Wildlife rescuers are working endlessly to clean dozens of birds affected by the spill. They use a dish soap and water mixture to clean the oil off of the birds while trying to not damage the feathers. These wild birds are not used to human interaction and sometimes die from the stress of being captured before the workers can clean them.
White House Administration Response UPDATED June 7, 2010 7 PM
President Meets with Cabinet Members and Other Top Officials at White House
President Obama met with members of his cabinet and other top U.S. government officials involved in the ongoing administration-wide response to the BP oil spill in the Cabinet Room at the White House.
Following the meeting, the President again reiterated the federal government’s commitment to ensuring that BP fulfills every claim obligation. “We are going to insist that money flows quickly—in a timely basis—so that you don’t have a shrimp processor or a fisherman who’s going out of business before BP finally makes up its mind as to whether or not it’s going to pay out,” the President said. “That’s going to be one of our top priorities, because we know that no matter how successful we are over the next few weeks in some of the containment efforts, the damages are going to be there.” A transcript is available here.
EPA Continues to Monitor Air, Water and Sediment Quality in the Gulf Coast
According to the most recent data, the Environmental Protection Agency has found that air quality levels for ozone and particulates are normal on the Gulf coastline for this time of year. Likewise, water and sediment samples along the Gulf Coast did not reveal elevated levels of chemicals usually found in oil.
EPA has observed odor-causing pollutants associated with petroleum products in the air along the coastline at low levels. Some of these chemicals may cause short-lived effects like headache, eye, nose and throat irritation, or nausea. People may be able to smell some of these chemicals at levels well below those that would cause short-term health problems. Anyone experiencing these and other symptoms should call the Medical Support Line at 1-888-623-0287.
Fishing Restrictions Decrease by One Percent; 68 Percent Remains Open
Today, NOAA opened 430 square miles of previously closed fishing area off the Florida panhandle – the northern boundary now ends at the Florida federal-state water line on the east side of Choctawhatchee Bay. This area was initially closed on June 5 as a precaution because oil was projected to be within the area over the next 48 hours. However, the review of satellite imagery, radar and aerial data indicated that oil had not moved into the area.
The closed area now represents 78,264 square miles, which is approximately 32 percent of Gulf of Mexico federal waters—the closed area does not apply to any state waters. This leaves approximately 68 percent of Gulf federal waters available for fishing. Closing fishing in these areas is a precautionary measure to ensure that seafood from the Gulf will remain safe for consumers. Details can be found at http://sero.nmfs.noaa.gov/.
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. BP reports that 38,052 claims have been opened, from which more than $48.6 million have been disbursed. No claims have been denied to date. There are 514 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.
SBA Economic Injury Assistance Loans Approved for Louisiana
SBA has approved 43 economic injury assistance loans to date, totaling $1,8 million for small businesses in Louisiana impacted by the BP oil spill. Additionally, the agency has granted deferments on 301 existing SBA disaster loans in the Gulf Coast region, totaling $1,253,800 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.
Successful Controlled Burn
Favorable weather conditions allowed responders to conduct a successful controlled burn operation. 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.