What Congress was told June 8 about the Gulf oil leak

McClatchy NewspapersJune 8, 2010 

This is an e-mail summary of the 3 p.m. conference call with members of Congress, congressional staff and Obama administration officials about the BP Deepwater Horizon oil leak. It is published here without editing, except as [noted]. Spellings and references are those of the author.

3PM CALL REPORT OF NOTABLE ITEMS

The following is an unofficial summary of the 3pm Congressional Conference call regarding the Gulf of Mexico incident. This summary is not meant to reflect a precise transcription of the conference call, but rather provides an abbreviated, truncated run-down of most points/questions covered on the call.

Call notes from the 3pm Congressional Members and Staff Call for June 8, 2010 – Day 50

Call Managed by Chris Mansur, DOI Congressional Affairs

Cpt. June Ryan , USCG

Subsurface – Last 24 hours, have used 14,105 gallons of dispersant at subsea.

Surface – Recovered 8,754 bbl of oil water mix, used 10744 gallons surface dispersant, no in situ burns

Shoreline – 65k feet of boom deployed, no vessel contamination and all ports open

Other - 24,426 personal now on scene with 2722 vessels, 28 fixed wing planes and 26 helicopters. Current Claims stand at just over 39,000 with more than $49 million paid out.

Walter Cruikshank, MMS

Subsea containment has 14,842 barrels caught in last 24 hours period and over 4 mcf of gas flared.

Relief well 1 – 13,900 feet

Relief Well 2 – BOP Stack and riser still being placed on sea floor before resuming drilling

Doug Helton, NOAA

Offshore trajectory continues to have light sheen not near loop current

Near shore has been impacted by offshore winds, which will reverse tonight to onshore winds for more impact to MS, AL and FL.

Currents continue to push oil spill westward [Editor comment: eastward?], reducing threat to LA but increasing impacts to FL

Continuing current science research and will conduct a “state of the science” call on Thursday at 4 pm.

Tracy Waring, DHS

New Development is the establishment of new Integrated Service Teams (IST).

IST is 16 agencies including SBA, EPA, USDA, Commerce, ED, HHS, HUD, Interior, Labor, and others. Two primary groups in each gulf state, national teams and field teams.

Focus in on coordinating delivery of programs for individuals, families and businesses.

Working to push job opportunities, food stamps, and unemployment insurance.

Main charge is to monitor the claims process operated by BP is being followed and overseen. They are concerned that larger loss claims are not being paid quickly enough

Meeting with Claims officials in DC tomorrow to discuss process and data from BP to ensure payments to individuals and businesses. Working with states to find problems and solve at a national level.

April ?, Commerce

Sec. Locke is going to be in AL, MS and LA later this week. Holding Town halls in Mobile, New Orleans, and Biloxi. Focusing on Tourism job losses and impacts. Contact Jwright@doc.gov – 202-484-3663

QUESTIONS

Rep. Ros-Lehtinen

Q: Had lost of fishermen and dive industry, how do the fishing closures get determined, what is the feedback for folks?

A: NOAA – The closures are based on where oil is and where oil will be in next 1-3 days. Using models to project and devise a process to protect the catch. They have emergency authority to declare closures.

Staff, Rep. Bilirakis

Q: Is Unified Command organizing flights over the Gulf areas?

A: DHS will arrange flights for members based in Louisiana and happy to arrange. Contact Jay.harper@dhs.gov

Q: Do we know the flow rate? Will we have another top cap?

A: DOI - Still working flow rate. MMS- working on backup containment systems to capture more oil. Need additional capacity on the surface.

Staff, Rep. Miller

Q: Can you talk about the leak at Saratoga?

A: It is something which has been in place since Ivan and remains about a couple of barrels per day.

Staff, Rep. Cassidy

Q: How do we reach the cleanup crew procedures which are based off the material safety data sheet? Only for crude oil is there another for tar balls?

A: OSHA – Only in certain situations when workers have more than minimal exposure to weathered oil, tar balls, if they are handling boom or getting oil on them then must wear suits. Workers in the suits have a difficult time working due to the high heat levels. The number one concern right now is heat stroke for workers in suits.

Q: So it depends on the local conditions and local managers?

A: OSHA has not been happy with the way it has been handled so far and has given BP additional guidance.

Staff, Sen. Lautenberg

Q: New dome which will be deployed, what is timeline? Is it going to catch more oil or is that it is better for hurricane?

A: MMS – Doesn’t know specific design will check on.

Staff, Sen. Nelson

Q: Is there a report on the Saratoga incident?

A: Not sure if there is anything available.

-End of Call-

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