Third weekend of oil spill response begins
Happy Friday! The mission to drop a 100-ton concrete-and-steel box over a blown-out oil well on the floor of the Gulf of Mexico continues -- as does the federal response. Watch and manipulate the fantastic PBS NewsHour widget above to get a sense of how quickly oil is spilling into the waters.
As the oil spills, more than 10,000 government officials, BP staffers and volunteers are responding to the spill, using almost 270 vessels to respond. There are now 10 staging areas across the shoreline -- from Slidell, La. to Western Florida. Here's an updated agency-by-agency scorecard as the weekend begins -- and the barrels of oil keep spewing:
The agency's National Center for Environmental Health and Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry are monitoring the spill and offering assistance as needed to lead federal agencies and impacted states and communities.
Interior Secretary Ken Salazar traveled to Houston on Thursday for meetings with BP company officials. He also announced that no applications for offshore drilling permits will go forward until the department completes the safety review ordered by President Obama.
NATIONAL PARK SERVICE:
Two teams are in the Gulf monitoring the situation, while other park employees are supporting the response efforts across the coast.
The agency canceled a research team's mission to explore deep sea corals and they will instead collect seafloor and water column data from areas near the oil spill. The data will likely provide information on the presence of chemicals in ocean water and sediments.
The National Weather Service has established a special forecast Web site and agency aircraft are flying mammal survey missions and ocean imaging missions to get a sense of the thickness and density of the oil on the ocean surface.
SMALL BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION:
Administrator Karen Mills said her agency will make low-interest loans available to small businesses in the Gulf Coast region that are suffering the economic impacts of the spill.
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• Cabinet and Staff News: President Obama will make a statement on the monthly jobs numbers with Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, Commerce Secretary Gary Locke, Labor Secretary Hilda Solis, Office of Management and Budget Director Peter Orszag, Chair of the Council of Economic Advisers Christina Romer and Director of the National Economic Council Larry Summers by his side. Geithner and Hank Paulson support tighter regulations. Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens casts a long shadow over the Supreme Court. Elena Kagan faced a dilemma at Harvard. Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. defends the Justice Department's decision to read Miranda rights to Times Square attacker.
• Census computer glitch could jeopardize count: Frequent glitches with the computer system built to manage the 2010 Census could jeopardize its accuracy and drive up costs beyond its $15 billion price tag, according to a new watchdog report.
• Man sentenced for selling phony goods to military: The Saudi man was sentenced Thursday to four years in prison for selling counterfeit computer parts to the Marine Corps.
• Snubbed by Pentagon, Graham leads National Day of Prayer event at Capital: Evangelist Franklin Graham prayed briefly on a sidewalk outside the Pentagon Thursday morning, then moved to the Cannon House Office Building next to the U.S. Capitol.
• Four journalists banned from Gitmo coverage for outing an interrogator: They published articles identifying a witness whose identity had been protected by the presiding judge even though it has been in the public domain since 2005.
• FCC proposes rules on Internet access: Chairman Julius Genachowski said the agency would begin a process to reclassify broadband transmission service as a telecommunications service, subjecting the Internet to some of the same oversight as telephone services.
• Who could best lead the GAO?: Government scholar Paul Light think three criteria should be at the fore.
• Telework bill fails in the House; Senate delays action: Federal workers will have to wait a bit longer for the option to work from home, as the House failed to pass a bill that would have expanded telework options across the government.
• Interior delays plans for Virginia offshore drilling: It is "temporarily postponing public meetings on potential offshore activities" so a review of offshore drilling safety issues requested by President Barack Obama could be considered at the meetings.
MINE SAFETY AND HEALTH ADMINISTRATION:
• Mine safety sweep yields citations, closures: A five-day inspection blitz was in response to the April 5 explosion that killed 29 at Massey Energy Co.'s Upper Big Branch mine in West Virginia.
• NASA picks May 14 launch for Atlantis' last flight: The shuttle will fly to the International Space Station, carrying up a crew of six and a load of supplies.
• Alliant sees NASA revamp easing: Potentially the biggest corporate loser in White House proposals to outsource large chunks of U.S. manned space exploration sought to signal Wall Street that most of the programs are likely to survive the revamping.
U.S. POSTAL SERVICE:
• Postal Service profits, volume continue to drop: The mail agency lost $1.9 billion in the six months that ended March 31 and mail volume also dropped 6.3 percent vs. the same period in 2009.
PRESIDENT'S CANCER PANEL:
• U.S. facing 'grievous harm' from chemicals in air, food, water: The panel said Americans are facing "grievous harm" from chemicals in the air, food and water that have largely gone unregulated and ignored.
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