Interior Department Announces Reforms to Enhance Oil and Gas Oversight
As part of an ongoing agenda to change the way the Department of the Interior does business, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar announced a set of reforms that will provide federal inspectors more tools, more resources, more independence, and greater authority to enforce laws and regulations that apply to oil and gas companies operating on the Outer Continental Shelf.
Salazar has also enlisted the National Academy of Engineering to provide a set of fresh eyes on the issues surrounding the Deepwater Horizonincident and an independent, science-based understanding of what happened.
NOAA Modifies Fishing Closed Areas in Gulf; 93 Percent Remains Open
NOAA’s Fisheries Service modified the area closed to fishing in the Gulf of Mexico due to the spill, which will include federal waters seaward of Louisiana state waters in the vicinity of Timbalier Island to waters off Florida’s Choctawhatchee Bay. These changes will leave more than 93 percent of the Gulf’s federal waters open for fishing, and supporting productive fisheries and tourism.
NOAA also will expedite updates to the areas closed to fishing in the Gulf of Mexico, as well as public notice of those changes. The closure process is being improved to cut down on the red tape necessary to modify the boundaries of the closure area. Area boundaries could be modified daily, based on where and how fast the oil spill is moving. NOAA will provide daily updates at http://sero.nmfs.noaa.gov by 12 p.m. EDT.
Scientific Assets Continue to Join the Response
NASA mobilized its remote-sensing assets to help assess the spread and impact of the Deepwater Horizon BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico at the request of U.S. disaster response agencies. NASA has deployed its instrumented research aircraft the Earth Resources-2 (ER-2) to the Gulf. The agency is also making extra satellite observations and conducting additional data processing to assist the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the U.S. Geological Survey, and the Department of Homeland Security in monitoring the spill.
Top Fisheries Scientist Dispatched
As part of its ongoing efforts to protect consumers, NOAA is sending one of its top fisheries science directors to the Gulf this week to lead its effort to rapidly assess, test and report findings about risks posed to fish in the Gulf of Mexico by contaminants from the BP oil spill and clean-up activities.
NOAA’s Northeast Fisheries Science Center (NEFSC) Director Nancy Thompson, Ph.D, will head to Pascagoula, Miss., to lead NOAA’s response team. Thompson will work closely with Bonnie Ponwith, Ph.D., the director at the agency’s Southeast Fisheries Science Center, who is leading an intensified effort to monitor and assess the spill’s effects on important species in the Gulf of Mexico.
Asian American and Pacific Islander Community Liaison Dispatched
White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders Advisor on Community Engagement Miya Chen is joining the Area Unified Command Center in Robert, La., to assess the immediate needs of the Asian American community.
The Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and NIEHS are monitoring BP and its contractors to ensure that every worker receives necessary training in the worker’s language, as OSHA regulations require.
The National Institute for Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) is collaborating with BP to provide Vietnamese-language translators and trainers. Vietnamese, Cambodian and Taiwanese translations of the BP Vessels of Opportunity fishing contracts is being provided at the Venice Community Center. BP has hired a local Vietnamese liaison officer and is contracting additional office support and translation.
OSHA Develops Multi-Lingual Worker Guides
OSHA is developing pocket-sized health and safety guides for cleanup workers and volunteers. Guides available in English should be ready by this weekend and guides in Spanish and Vietnamese should be ready for distribution early next week.
Leak Plug Tactic Approved by MMS
MMS approved the methanol injection to prevent hydrate formation in the “top hat” structure. The top hat should be on site by mid-week after modifications are made.
DOD Transports Boom and Equipment from Alaska
Following approval by Secretary of Defense Robert Gates for assistance, several commercial aircraft and numerous C-17 aircraft commenced missions to transport 150,000 feet of BP pollution response boom and approximately 250 short tons of Navy salvage equipment commenced movement from Anchorage, Alaska, to New Orleans.
**Key contact numbers
Report oiled shoreline or request volunteer information: (866) 448-5816
Submit alternative response technology, services or products: (281) 366-5511
Submit your vessel for the Vessel of Opportunity Program: (281) 366-5511
Submit a claim for damages: (800) 440-0858
Report oiled wildlife: (866) 557-1401
Oil Execs On Capitol Hill. Not Very Impressive.
BP's Oil Spill: What's The Real Damage?
Movie Watch: Crude. Crude. Crude.