As part of the ongoing federal response to the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, EPA today established a website to inform the public about the spill’s impact on the environment and the health of nearby residents. The website – http://www.epa.gov/bpspill – will contain data from EPA’s ongoing air monitoring along with other information about the agency’s activities in the region. Also today, Administrator Jackson joined Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and Interior Secretary Ken Salazar to tour the region. The Administrator will spend the next 36 hours visiting with community groups and meeting EPA staff responding to the spill.
Additional information on the broader response from the U.S. Coast Guard and other responding agencies is available at: http://www.deepwaterhorizonresponse.com
“We are taking every possible step to protect the health of the residents and mitigate the environmental impacts of this spill,” EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson said. “For several days, EPA has been on the ground evaluating air and water concerns and coordinating with other responding agencies. We are also here to address community members — the people who know these waters and wetlands best. They will be essential to the work ahead.”
EPA has established air monitoring stations along Plaquemines Parish on the Louisiana coast. EPA established those facilities to determine how oil set on fire in the gulf and oil that is reaching land is impacting air quality. EPA is monitoring levels of a number of chemicals potentially emitted by oil, including volatile organic compounds such as xylene, benzene and toluene.
EPA has also deployed two Trace Atmospheric Gas Analyzers – mobile laboratories that collect and analyze air quality samples in real time – to monitor air quality in the region.
EPA tested smoke from the controlled burn two days ago and found the Louisiana coast had not been affected because an off-shore breeze was blowing away from land and out to sea during that time. The agency will continue to collect and share data with the public, and will coordinate and share information with local health officials.
In addition to monitoring air quality, EPA is also assessing the coastal waters affected by the spreading oil. EPA deployed our twin-engine aircraft to assist in the collection of air sampling data and photograph the spill and surrounding area.
All of the data EPA collects will be posted to http://www.epa.gov/bpspill , along with frequently asked questions, fact sheets about potential health impacts of the spill, and links to more information on the spill and the government’s response.
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