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What Congress was told June 10 about BP Gulf oil leak

This is an e-mail summary of a conference call Thursday among members of Congress, congressional staff and Obama administration officials. Spellings, grammar and abbreviations are those of the author.


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 9, 2010 – Day 52

Heather Urban, DOI – Call Moderator

Captain June Ryan, USCGM

Subsurface: In the last 24 hr period 12,521 gallons of subsurface dispersant has been used.

Surface: 2100 gallons of dispersant was used on the surface; 12,800 barrels of oil/water mixture was skimmed; and, 17 in-situ burns were conducted (the most since the spill).

 Shoreline: 20,140 feet of boom was deployed yesterday.

 Claims: To date almost 42,000 claims have been filed; BP has paid out more than $53 million for 20,000 claims.

CDR Dan McLaughlin, USCG

thanked Congress for passing the bill providing the Coast Guard with authority to access additional funds from the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund.

Walter Cruikshank, MMS

 Containment: Volume measurements are made midnight to midnight, yesterday 31 mcf gas and more than 15,800 barrels came through the ‘Top Hat’ assembly. Put a pressure meter on the top hat to get a better handle on the flow rate. Oil is being transferred to the barge Massachusetts. The barge will head back to port tomorrow and another barge will be brought in to transfer additional oil from the Drill ship Discover Enterprise.

Relief Well #1 is at 13,978 ft; casing has been cemented to that depth. They are waiting on the cement to set up before commencing with drilling.

Relief Well #2 the BOP has been tested and is in place. The well has been drilled to a depth of 8,600 feet.

Doug Hilton, NOAA Near shore

Trajectory:  Good mild weather, but severe in terms of heat concerned about the health and safety of the response teams (heat related illnesses). Onshore Winds are 10 to 15 knots shoreline areas that might be impacted are the Mississippi and Alabama barrier islands, Florida panhandle, and the Mississippi Delta.

Offshore Trajectory:  Narrow bands of oil SE and ESE of the main slick. Small slick entrained in a large clockwise Eddy Franklin that has pinched off from the main Loop Current.  If the Loop Current reforms some oil could become entrained in the current. Transiting from Florida to the main slick area some scattered sheens and tar balls were observed.

Jeff Underwood, USFWS

They have moved additional personnel into the Gulf Coast they now have 400 people working on the oil spill response. Yesterday 200 oiled brown pelicans were reported. They are expanding the Ft. Jackson bird facility. 


Staff, Senator Wicker’s Office

Q: Hearing from furloughed constituents affected by the drilling moratorium that have filed claims with BP and have been turned down. Do you know about this?

A: Have heard they haven’t denied any claims. Don’t know who will be responsible for covering the economic losses due to the moratorium, currently under discussion.

Q: Can I get a contact to discuss this in more detail?

A: Chani Wiggins (DHS) provided her number.

Staff, Senator LeMieux’s Office

Q: Constituents have reported sheen and tar balls (bay/beach?). Have skimmers been deployed?

A: USCG - I don’t have that on my shorelines impact list.

Staff, Congressman Miller’s Office

Q: We have constituents that are reporting the same thing.

A: USCG - I’ll check and get back to you both.

Staff, Senator Gillibrand’s Office

Q: I believe she asked about 71 health issues related to the oil spill.

A: A representative from the Department of Labor was going to call her to discuss.

Staff, House Natural Resources Committee

Q: Asked the CG to repeat numbers provided at the beginning of the call.

A: See info under USCG.

Congressman Russ Carnahan

Q: I have constituents that want to volunteer to help with the cleanup. Who is best to contact, BP or the Federal Government and how long does it take to get into the field?

A: The can go to the Deepwater Horizon Incident website there is a link for volunteers or depending on where they are they can contact the Unified Command or Incident Command Center. If it’s a company they can go to 

-End of Call-