Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Day 79 BP Oil Spill Update: New Gov Website; VoO Revisions

Jul 7: National Incident Commander Admiral Thad Allen announced the launch of a new Federal web portal -- RestoreTheGulf --  which he said is "dedicated to providing the American people with clear and accessible information and resources related to the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill response and recovery." The RestoreTheGulf website is designed to serve as a one-stop repository for news, data and operational updates related to administration-wide efforts to stop the BP oil leak and mitigate its impact on the environment, the economy and public health -- unifying web resources across the administration and increasing public access to the latest information.

    Admiral Allen said, "We are committed to providing the American people access to complete and accurate information about our response to the BP oil spill and the resources available to assist those directly impacted. will provide even greater transparency and openness about the BP oil spill, our historic response, the tools available to assist Gulf Coast communities, and plans for the region's long-term recovery and restoration." A release indicates that the site offers easy-to-navigate information about the claims and appeals process -- as well as other types of assistance available from Federal, state, local and non-government sources -- for individuals, businesses and communities who have been affected by the spill. It will also contain information about plans for the long-term economic and environmental restoration in the Gulf Coast region.

    The public can view details about current operations, resources in specific states and localities, mapping and data resources, and ongoing investigations as well as oil spill data collected throughout the federal government. In addition, users can find information about ways to get involved -- including volunteer opportunities, how to submit a suggestion and how to report concerns about oiled shoreline or wildlife -- and a comprehensive list of all hotline numbers related to the oil spill. Content for the site
will be gathered from a wide variety of sources, including the Unified Area Command's Joint Information Center in New Orleans, all Federal agencies involved in the spill response and recovery efforts, and independent scientists and members of academia who are contributing their expertise. While certain information will remain available on various agency websites and the White House blog, the new portal will link all resources together.
    BP reported that for the last 12 hours on July 6 (noon to midnight), approximately 8,425 barrels of oil were collected and approximately 4,115 barrels of oil and 28.7 million cubic feet of natural gas were flared. On July 6, total oil recovered was approx. 24,760 barrels (16,535 barrels of oil were collected; 8,225 barrels of oil were flared, and 57.5 million cubic feet of natural gas were flared. Total oil recovered from both the LMRP Cap and Q4000 systems since they were implemented is approx. 660,000 barrels. An additional 22,000 barrels were collected from the RIT tool earlier in May bringing the total recovered to approx. 682,000 barrels.
    Doug Suttles, Chief Operating Officer of BP Exploration and Production, met with Vessels of Opportunity (VoO) participants to view operations and discuss a number of enhancements made to the VoO program. Through these modifications, the program will more effectively deploy boats to oil recovery activity and better utilize local commercial and charter fishing vessels to advance the effectiveness of the Gulf of Mexico response. Suttles said, "The enhancements announced today will further strengthen the Vessels of Opportunity program, getting the right vessels into the fight in the fairest way possible. We've listened carefully to those working on this important effort, and we appreciate the changes they've recommended. This program is an important piece of our efforts to make things right in the Gulf of Mexico. The hard work of those within the program continues to make a significant contribution to the response."
    The Vessels of Opportunity program employs local commercial fishing vessels to assist in the company's response in the Gulf of Mexico and minimize the impact of the spill on the region's people, environment and economy. To date, over 3,000 vessels have been activated for duty through the program across four states - Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi and Florida.
    The National Wildlife Federation (NWF) and partners have signed up and trained hundreds of volunteers to be part of our Gulf Coast Surveillance Teams. The volunteer observers play a critical role in spotting distressed and dead wildlife and helping to document the effects of the oil spill on waters, wetlands and beaches. Importantly, NWF says as more teams are formed along the thousands of miles of the Gulf coast, they can help identify new places where signs of the oil spill appear.

    Access the new RestoreTheGulf website for links to the latest Unified Command updates and more (click here). Access the latest BP update (click here). Access BP's release on the VoO program with additional details (click here). Access a release and sample report from NWF on the Surveillance Teams (click here).