Oil spill: Update on the government response
President Obama visited the region on Sunday and Salazar and Homeland Security Janet Napolitano spoke Sunday with the governors of Alabama, Florida, Mississippi and Louisiana.
Nearly 2,000 people are responding to the oil spill -- a mix of BP officials, locals and state and federal officials. They're using more than 100 vessels, including skimmers, tugs and barges, along with dozens of aircraft, vehicles and offshore drilling units.
Officials have established seven staging areas in Biloxi, Miss., Pensacola, Fla., Venice, La., Pascagoula, Miss., Theodore, Ala., Port Fourchon, La., and Port Sulphur, La.
Agency-by-agency updates below, which will update as necessary:
• DeepwaterHorizonResponse.com, the official response Web site updates frequently with photos, phone numbers and press releases.
It's leading the government's efforts to control the oil spill, partnering with BP, local folks and the Defense Department.
Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen is serving as National Incident Commander, the federal official in charge of this "incident of national significance." That essentially means he's the federal official with the final say on matters and President Obama's point man on the ground.
Defense Secretary Robert Gates mobilized the Louisiana National Guard over the weekend (making use of Title 32) and the Pentagon said BP will pay for the costs of deployment.
The Navy is providing a variety of oil pollution control equipment to the Coast Guard (which is part of the Homeland Security Department) and has sent thousands of feet of inflatable oil boom with mooring equipment, several skimming systems, related support gear, and personnel to support oil spill response efforts. The Coast Guard is using Naval Air Station Pensacola as a staging facility for contractor equipment.
EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson remains in the region and met over the weekend with locals, reminding them of her New Orleans roots.
MINERALS MANAGEMENT SERVICE:
The agency remains in touch with oil and gas operators in the region. Officials report that two platforms have stopped production and one was evacuated as a safety precaution. Less than one-tenth of a percent of daily gas production in the Gulf of Mexico has been impacted by those stoppages.
On Sunday the NOAA Fisheries Service decided to restrict fishing for at least 10 days in the immediate oil spill region.
"Balancing economic and health concerns, this order closes just those areas that are affected by oil. There should be no health risk in seafood currently in the marketplace," said NOAA Administrator Jane Lubchenco.
There are 3.2 million recreational fishermen in the Gulf of Mexico who took 24 million fishing trips in 2008, according to NOAA. Commercial fishermen harvested more than 1 billion pounds of finfish and shellfish in 2008.
Agency spill specialists are providing coordinated scientific weather and biological response services And continue to advise officials on areas and animals likely most at risk.
RELATED: Issa launches probe into oil spill
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| May 3, 2010; 10:10 AM ET
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