NEW ORLEANS–(ENEWSPF)–November 18, 2010. The Federal On Scene Coordinator for the BP oil spill response and experts from the Unified Area Command provided Louisiana parish presidents with an operational update Wednesday, as part of an ongoing dialogue between the response organization and community leaders.
Coast Guard Rear Adm. Paul Zukunft, the Federal On Scene Coordinator for the BP oil spill, initiated this fifth meeting with the parish presidents to provide an open exchange of information regarding the ongoing oil spill response, currently involving more than 7,900 personnel. This response effort continues alongside the separate, long term restoration process under the Natural Resource Damage Assessment and the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Task Force.
Participating in the meeting with the parish presidents and Rear Adm. Zukunft were representatives from federal agencies, state of Louisiana, local parish officials, and BP officials.
Topics discussed included the U.S. government’s coordinated subsea monitoring efforts at and around the Macondo 252 wellhead area, shoreline treatment recommendations and actions taken on a parish-by-parish basis, boom anchor removal, vessel charter agreements, and an update on the sentinel snare program.
As response operations continue, the Unified Area Command will continue to tailor operations to match local priorities. While no new oil has entered the Gulf of Mexico since July 15, the response will continue to adapt to efficiently and quickly clean areas that remain impacted, and remains vigilant with resources staged for quick deployment should new impacts occur.
“This is an unprecedented and dynamic response effort and the parish presidents are key partners,” said Zukunft. “It’s critical that the unified command continues to keep the local leadership involved and these meetings provide an excellent opportunity to discuss the issues that are foremost on their minds.”
Highlights of the briefing included:
• Parish presidents received an update on ongoing response operations and the maintenance and monitoring plans that are being used to evaluate affected tidal areas.
• The command provided a review of shoreline treatment recommendations with the parish presidents. These plans are developed by local, state and federal environmental trustees and detail how segments of shoreline are to be cleaned to ensure that oil is removed without causing more harm to the environment than good.
• Parish presidents were briefed on issues related to the retrieval of containment boom anchors. Some anchors were inadvertently lost or could not be recovered during the boom removal process and the leaders discussed the feasibility of attempting to retrieve these anchors in consideration of the potential risk to environment and the safety of response personnel.
• At the height of the response approximately 10,000 vessels in the Vessel of Opportunity Program were used for everything from skimming oil to transporting response personnel. However, no new oil has entered the Gulf since July 15th. Today parish presidents, BP officials and response personnel discussed the timeline and process for adjusting the size of the vessel fleet to match operational needs, as oil collection activities scale down.