June 6th, 2010
10:42 AM ET

Day 48: Latest oil disaster developments

A brown pelican stained with oil in Louisiana on Sunday.

[Updated at 3:42 p.m. ET] Here are the latest developments on the oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, caused by the April 20 explosion on the Deepwater Horizon rig. 

BP had increased the amount of oil it funneled to the surface to about 441,000 gallons on Saturday, the company said Sunday. This was an increase from about 250,000 gallons on Friday.

In advance of approaching oil, Florida has about 250,000 feet of boom spread around the panhandle and has another 250,000 feet available, Florida Gov. Charlie Crist said.

Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour said barely any oil had appeared on the state's shores, but its tourist industry was nonetheless feeling the pinch because of "misperceptions."

Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen, the federal government's response manager to the Gulf oil disaster, said BP has made progress in capping the leak, but he cautioned it was too early to call efforts a success. 

"We're making the right progress. I don't think anyone should be pleased as long as there's oil in the water," Allen said. 

BP Senior Vice President Bob Fryar said Saturday that the oil company "was very pleased" with the progress the company has made funneling oil from an undersea cap up to a drilling ship. "That operation has gone extremely well," Fryar said. 

BP funneled about 250,000 gallons of oil in the first 24 hours from a cap installed on the ruptured Gulf of Mexico well to a drilling ship, the company said Saturday. 

After reviewing new images and data, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reopened more than 16,000 square miles of ocean along the Florida coast that was previously closed for fishing because of the oil spill. More than 13,000 square miles of that lie just west of the Florida Keys and Dry Tortugas. 

But the federal agency also closed a 2,275-square mile area off the Florida Panhandle, extending the northern boundary just east of the western edge of Choctawhatchee Bay. That means that 32 percent of the Gulf still remains off limits for fishing. 

Tar balls and tar patties have been found in Florida on Pensacola Beach

President Obama said in his weekly address Saturday that the federal government was "prepared for the worst" in coping with the Gulf oil. 

He cited a series of statistics that illuminated the "largest response to an environmental disaster of this kind in the history of our country." 

- 17,500 National Guard troops authorized for deployment. 

- 20,000 people are currently working to protect waters and coastlines. 

- 1,900 vessels are in the Gulf assisting in the clean up. 

 - 4.3 million feet of boom deployed with another 2.9 million feet of boom available, enough to stretch over 1,300 miles. 

- 17 staging areas across Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida to rapidly defend sensitive shorelines. 

Obama also reiterated his commitment to cleaning up the oil spill in his weekly address, recorded Friday when he visited Grand Isle, Louisiana. 

"What I told these men and women - and what I have said since the beginning of this disaster - is that I'm going to stand with the people of the Gulf Coast until they are made whole," the president said. 

The administration has tried to distance itself from oil company BP in recent days. The Justice Department has launched criminal and civil investigations into the spill. But that has not been enough to temper the frustration seething among coastline residents. BP officials were grilled this weekend by local leaders. 

Oil that has already affected Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama drifted steadily towards Florida. 

President Obama plans to personally offer his condolences to families who lost relatives in the rig explosion, said White House spokesman Robert Gibbs. The president has invited the families of the 11 dead workers to the White House on Thursday. 

The cost of the federal response effort to the Gulf of Mexico oil spill totaled $93 million as of June 1, according to a Friday letter from Allen and Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano to congressional leadership. They are requesting that Congress approve a proposed provision that would make available up to an additional $100 million to the Coast Guard.

soundoff (57 Responses)
  1. Starmont

    Is there not a way to plug the leak gush from the inside? can't BP make something or and agency – if there is so much force pushing out couldn't some device be made to exit seal the leak using the presser of the oil to hold it in place? what the heck guys ? Im sure it can me sealed off better than the hell that is being unleashed on NOT JUST THE GOLF BUT THE WORLD – PEOPLE! everyone is going to be affected in some way.

    June 7, 2010 at 3:02 am | Report abuse |
  2. GI JOE

    bp should stand for bs. people we are being brain wash to think that they will protect our national treasures. mr. president get a grip, people are losing their livelyhood as i type. does anyone believe that 5,000 dollars will replace a persons income to live, give me a break. they are spending more money on the spin then they are on the clean up. wake up america we are all going to pay dearly while bp goes home with a big fat check.

    June 7, 2010 at 4:52 am | Report abuse |
  3. GI JOE

    if this oil spill gets to the florida keys and beyond, you ain't seen nothing yet.

    June 7, 2010 at 6:00 am | Report abuse |
  4. GI JOE

    i spent 37yrs in miami and every year my father inlaw would fly us down to key west and we would spend 2 weeks fishing the keys. it's heart breaking for me to think that they won't be there any more. get off your butt mr. president, i believed you were a can do president, show us help us, instead of waiting for a mess of britts to tell us bug off we have it handled. we kicked your asses in 1776, will do it again.

    June 7, 2010 at 9:19 am | Report abuse |
  5. Bud77651

    BP is not drilling a "relief" well. It is an alternate well to save production. BP is not "containing" the oil, they are in "production" now. Every effort to stop the oil has always been an effort to stop the oil AND save the well. BP' engineers are not trained any other way and cannot concieve just plugging the well and walking away from all the money under the seabed. I say forfeit the well and stick 'em with the cleanup. If they can't profit off of it, the oil quits flowing the next day!!!

    June 7, 2010 at 11:44 am | Report abuse |
  6. GI JOE

    Mr. President, if your ears clogged from all the oil hear us, we really don't care about bp (bs) what we want is action not reaction. take the bull by the horns and show us what you are made of. there many americans in this great land that can run circles around bp enginners. do it now, not next month. by then it may be too late.

    June 7, 2010 at 12:22 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Craig N. Barthelmas

    Subject: PRO-ACTIVE OIL SPILL CONTINGENCY PLAN, Dated: 10 May, 2010

    TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN: Here’s a contingency plan that has patented technology and a process that really works.

    1. We found a pre-processed material and developed an action plan that would have extracted up to 95% of the oil spill contaminants from seeded surface waters of the Gulf of Mexico, before it hit land fall.
    2. Our product is a, “Modified Oil Spill Environmental Sponge” dubbed M.O.S.E.S., it is a ¼” to ½” product that can be used to absorb oil contaminants from both “fresh water and salt water” surface oil spills. Our tests have concluded that one ton of product will absorb 125 gallons of oil in less than one hour. Simply put it will absorb approximately one half of its weight in oil. M.O.S.E.S. collects/absorbs oil not water. After saturation M.O.S.E.S. will only contain about 1.4% water. It creates no added impact on marine life or the environment. It also poses no threat to other kinds of wildlife including humans. A fifteen minute test will prove this process works.
    3. Our plan is full circle and includes staging, seeding, re-claiming and re-processing all of the contaminated oil’s and seed materials back into re-usable fuels and commodities.
    4. Due to the urgencies to reduce the impact on the environment and the magnitude of this spill, our plan required partnering with the Coast Guard and other organizations that were already being used to provide staging, seeding and reclaim operations.
    5. Seeding operations were to be handled in essentially the same way they were being done, with minor and/or no modifications to airborne or aquatic equipment that would handle spreading ¼” to ½” particulates.
    6. Re-claim operations required the same booms, scoops, pumps and barge operations, that were being used.
    7. Re-processing operations proposed a permanent emissions free plant for processing oil, sand and other like materials into re-usable fuels and commodities. The plant would take approximately ninety to one hundred and fifty days to construct and would become a permanent part of a states fast action response to future oil spills.
    8. Our plan would have first, assisted with the on-going damage control operations in the gulf; second, it could have been put into operation within seven days; third, it would have become a $30,000,000.00 per year financial benefit to the communities that embraced staging and plant processing operations.
    9. This plan will greatly reduced the time and costs associated with this kind of oil spill in the future. We are confident that this type of pro-active plan would become a template for other high risk (oceanic) areas.
    So, why was this plan given no consideration at all? It is not a question of if another spill will happen, but when! The only excuses we have been able to come up with that, we are sure you are going to here are, as follows:
    a. BP, News Networks and Government Agencies didn’t have the time to consider a pro-active long term plan?
    b. We were crack pots when, this technology is patented and the product could be tested in fifteen minutes?
    c. BP has it under control as, they have done this before? Yes and, crazy is doing the same thing over and over again, expecting different results! We need to get past these smoke screens and prepare for future spills.
    Thank you for your time and consideration. We’d love to receive some constructive input from anyone who is listening.
    Craig N. Barthelmas, Verizon Cell: [313] 682-1428, E-Mail: GE1RE22@aol.com
    CC: BP., CNN, FOX NEWS, NOAA, Governors of: AL., FL., LA., MS., And TX.

    June 7, 2010 at 12:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • Craig N. Barthelmas

      ATTENTION!! The PRO-ACTIVE OIL SPILL CONTINGENCY PLAN listed above will not plug oil leaks but, it will address five major problems; two of witch, are concerns that have not been addressed in the media or in the government.
      1. It truly is a LONG TERM-CONTINGENCY PLAN. It will help the community rebuild revenues while providing a fast action operational plan for future oil spills. Yes! Future oil spills will surely occur, despite future prevention efforts!
      2. This plan is full circle and would included staging, seeding, re-claiming and re-processing all of the contaminated oil’s, oil filled sands and seed materials back into re-usable fuels and commodities.
      3. It creates no added impact on marine life or the environment. It also poses no threat to humans and/or other forms of wildlife. Oil, feed stock and sand processing are near emissions free processes.
      4. It will generate $30,000,000.00 worth of new revenues for the communities that embrace staging and plant processing operations. The plant would remain in full operation after the clean-up is done.
      5. It will also add about forty new jobs to the community. This is not only a plan to help with short term clean up’s, it will also have a positive long term and lasting effect on the community as well.
      We all know that BP has been feeding us misinformation and then trying to mobilize volunteers to help minimize their cost. Yes! We sent BP and other agencies this plan. Operations of this nature have a price tag associated with them and so, it would appear that they have no wish to spend anything on spills they can’t control or that won’t go back into their pockets. The OMRS-100 technology is patented and, M.O.S.E.S. (The oil absorbent) can be tested in less than fifteen minutes!
      As always our government is seeking a short term quickie (political talk) so we can get a long term scr**ing! Has anyone mentioned where they (BP) plan to put and/or dispose of all of that contaminated; oil, sand and material? We are pretty sure that without intervention it will be in somebody’s back yard, neatly hidden from sight, killing something else. Don’t you think that any oil spill plan should at least consider: Prevention, Mobilization, Extraction and Disposal Operations?
      Thank you for your time. We would love to receive some constructive input from anyone who is as concerned as we are.
      Craig N. Barthelmas, Verizon Cell: [313] 682-1428, E-Mail: GE1RE22@aol.com

      June 7, 2010 at 12:39 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Disgusted

    This is crazy. Why aren't the oil specialist teams being hired to stop this oil gusher? All the president has intelligence for is to declare he is going to kick someone's ass, (HIS OWN WORDS). He needs to start with HIS OWN. That will not solve the problem. If nothing else, blow this well to close it permenently. It is not going to be controlled so stop it totally. There are not enough oil rigs out there sucking this stuff up to keep it off the shore lines. No one ever watch TV movies where oil specialists went in to solve the problems oil drillers had? GOOD GRIEF. Get someone intelligent in the presidential office, the below is the statement our so called 'president made', it's embarassing!

    "I don't sit around talking to experts because this is a college seminar," Obama continued. "We talk to these folks because they potentially have the best answers, so I know whose ass to kick."

    June 8, 2010 at 12:03 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Vaibhav chitransh

    I want details for the oil spill

    August 16, 2010 at 10:37 am | Report abuse |
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