Critical response assets are being moved across all the Gulf Coast states in preparation for potential near- and long-term oil impacts. In Alabama, the Coast Guard Cutter Cypress arrived in Mobile Bay today to protect Dauphin Island from the north and west. Tomorrow, we will commence a surge of boom to Alabama’s Katrina Pass that will be positioned to create a funnel to collect oil that comes in with the tide. Additionally, we have deployed four coast patrol boats to coordinate response in Alabama’s coastal waters.
Four helicopters are being deployed to the Alabama, Mississippi and Florida coast to provide surveillance information to help skimmers position their efforts strategically to collect the most oil threatening the shore possible. The Coast Guard Cutter Tampa has a flight deck that will allow for these helicopters to refuel offshore, and the Coast Guard Cutter Elm is currently in the area off the coast of Pensacola, Fla., working around the clock to skim oil from the surface..
Fishing Restrictions Expanded; One Section Re-Opened; 63 Percent Remains Open
[Many commercial fisherman in Miss. and Ala. consider their fishing season over]
NOAA has expanded some boundaries of the closed fishing area in the Gulf of Mexico to capture portions of the slick moving beyond the current boundaries—the most significant expansion includes an area off southwest Florida that covers waters just to the west of the Dry Tortugas—this federal closure does not apply to any state waters. Closing fishing in these areas is a precautionary measure to ensure that seafood from the Gulf will remain safe for consumers. Additionally, the agency reopened a 2,637 square mile area of the western-most boundary south of Louisiana. Oil was projected to be in this area, but was never actually observed there.
The closed area now represents 88,502 square miles, which is approximately 37 percent of Gulf of Mexico federal waters. This leaves more than 63 percent of Gulf federal waters available for fishing. Details can be found at http://sero.nmfs.noaa.gov/.
Property Damage Claims Processed
[You should a loud BS buzzer going off as you read this paragraph…there is much more to this story]
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 31,987 claims have been opened, from which more than $40.2 million have been disbursed. No claims have been denied to date. There are more than 510 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.