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Thursday, June 10, 2010

The Administration's On-going Response To BP's Oil Spill

As oil continues to permeate the Gulf, and photos of wildlife (and apparently people) drenched in oil continue to show the devastation of the spill, the White House continues to give Americans an update on what they say is being done to contain the spill.

While we get the details, the people of Louisiana wait.  And wait.

For a full timeline of the Administration-wide response, visit the White House Blog.

Past 24 Hours: Admiral Allen Meets with BP Claims Officials; Asserts Oversight of Claims Process

At the President’s direction, Admiral Thad Allen today met with top BP claims officials to assert the administration's oversight of BP's claims process in order to ensure that every legitimate claim is honored and paid in an efficient manner. He expressed the American people’s urgent need for additional transparency into BP's claims process, including how the process works, and how quickly claims are being processed for both individuals and businesses impacted by the oil spill. Additional meetings will be held in each of the four impacted states from June 11-13.

Today’s meeting followed a letter sent today from Admiral Allen to BP CEO Tony Hayward directing the company to provide the National Incident Command and appropriate representatives of the affected Gulf Coast states with more detailed information about the full range of activities—from acceptance to processing to payment—BP is undertaking to meet its obligations as a responsible party in this disaster.

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, BP reports that 41,958 claims have been opened, from which more than $52.9 million have been disbursed. No claims have been denied to date. There are 533 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.

Admiral Allen Provides Operational Update of BP Oil Spill Response
National Incident Commander Admiral Thad Allen provided a briefing to inform the American public and answer questions on the progress of the administration-wide response to the BP oil spill. A transcript is available here.

Rear Admiral Watson Instructs BP to Execute Oil Containment Contingency Plans
Federal On-Scene Coordinator Rear Admiral James A. Watson has sent a letter to BP instructing them to develop plans—within 72 hours—to “put equipment, systems and processes in place to ensure that the remaining oil and gas flowing can be recovered, taking into account safety, environmental and meteorological factors.”

The letter stressed the importance of redundancies to maintain collection rates in the event of operational problems, the need for multiple recovery vessels once additional capacity is needed, or severe weather, such as a hurricane.

Secretary Solis Visits Gulf Region to Inspect Efforts to Ensure Oil Spill Worker Safety
At the direction of the president, Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis traveled to Louisiana to inspect efforts to ensure the health, safety and well-being of workers affected by the BP oil spill. She met with beach cleanup workers in Port Fourchon; discussed worker safety efforts with Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) staff; and visited the Terrebonne Career Solutions Center, where she met with Vietnamese workers affected by the spill.

Policy Established to Protect Worker Health and Safety as Heat Rises in the Region

In an effort to protect the health and safety of workers amid rising summer temperatures, the Unified Area Command has established a policy requiring all on-shore and near-shore cleanup workers to follow a work/rest cycle to ensure their safety and well-being—which is determined based on the heat index, type of work being performed and required protective clothing. In addition, cleanup workers must be provided with plenty of water and encouraged to hydrate regularly. More information from OSHA is available here.

BP Continues to Capture Some Oil and Gas Using Containment Device
BP continues to capture some oil and burn some gas at the surface using its containment dome technique, which is being executed under the federal government’s direction. After cutting off a portion of the riser, BP placed a containment device over it in order to capture oil at its source.

Approved SBA Economic Injury Assistance Loans Surpass $2.1 Million
SBA has approved 51 economic injury assistance loans to date, totaling more than $2.19 million for small businesses in the Gulf Coast impacted by the BP oil spill. Additionally, the agency has granted deferments on 343 existing SBA disaster loans in the region, totaling more than $1.5m per month in payments.

For information on assistance loans for affected businesses, visit the SBA’s web site, or call (800) 659-2955, (800) 877-8339 for the hearing impaired), or email disastercustomerservice@sba.gov.

The President has made his fourth visit to Louisiana to survey the spill and cleanup efforts.

Related
DeepWater Oil Spill  Response Website

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