Spreading the word on the oil spill

Agencies focus on environmental, health concerns of the BP spill off the Gulf Coast

Federal agencies are employing their Web sites and social media tools to release emergency response and health information about the leak from BP’s Deepwater Horizon rig off the coast of New Orleans, as oil neared land in Louisiana and appeared to be spreading toward Alabama and Florida.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, for example, announced on its site that it is restricting fishing in federal waters affected by the spill for at least 10 days, and included a map of the affected area.

And IncidentNews, a site run by NOAA’s National Ocean Service, provides a regularly updated list of advisories, releases and aerial photos concerning the spill.

Related: BP asks for military tech to contain oil spill

The Environmental Protection Agency launched a Web site dedicated to the spill and the agency's response, detailing its air and water quality monitoring efforts, with fact sheets and FAQs about potential health issues.

EPA set up the air monitoring stations to determine the impact on air quality of oil set on fire — one plan for controlling the spill — as well as oil reaching land. The agency monitors levels of a number of chemicals potentially emitted by oil, including volatile organic compounds such as xylene, benzene and toluene, an EPA release said.

The agency also is using aircraft to assist in the collection of air sampling data and photograph the spill and surrounding area.

A roundup of government and BP responses to the spill is at http://www.deepwaterhorizonresponse.com, which includes information on the response from U.S. Coast Guard, Homeland Security Department and other agencies, along with BP’s actions.

For social media users, a Facebook page on the response provides a rundown of information on the spill, including information on volunteer programs for people looking to help with the response.

And a White House blog, meanwhile, offers updates on the overall government response.

For a visual overview of the spill, NASA has satellite images of the spill as it moves toward the Gulf Coast.

And for broader medical questions, the National Institutes of Health’s National Library of Medicine’s site on oil spills and health offers a general perspective on health issues.

About the Author

Connect with the GCN staff on Twitter @GCNtech.

FCW in Print

In the latest issue: Looking back on three decades of big stories in federal IT.


  • Shutterstock image: looking for code.

    How DOD embraced bug bounties -- and how your agency can, too

    Hack the Pentagon proved to Defense Department officials that outside hackers can be assets, not adversaries.

  • Shutterstock image: cyber defense.

    Why PPD-41 is evolutionary, not revolutionary

    Government cybersecurity officials say the presidential policy directive codifies cyber incident response protocols but doesn't radically change what's been in practice in recent years.

  • Anne Rung -- Commerce Department Photo

    Exit interview with Anne Rung

    The government's departing top acquisition official said she leaves behind a solid foundation on which to build more effective and efficient federal IT.

  • Charles Phalen

    Administration appoints first head of NBIB

    The National Background Investigations Bureau announced the appointment of its first director as the agency prepares to take over processing government background checks.

  • Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.)

    Senator: Rigid hiring process pushes millennials from federal work

    Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.) said agencies are missing out on younger workers because of the government's rigidity, particularly its protracted hiring process.

  • FCW @ 30 GPS

    FCW @ 30

    Since 1987, FCW has covered it all -- the major contracts, the disruptive technologies, the picayune scandals and the many, many people who make federal IT function. Here's a look back at six of the most significant stories.

Reader comments

Tue, May 4, 2010

INFORMATION ON "Crude Oil Spills and Health" NOW AVAILABLE FROM THE NATIONAL LIBRARY OF MEDICINE. A page of links to information on "Crude Oil Spills and Health" is now available from the National Library of Medicine at http://disasterinfo.nlm.nih.gov/dimrc/oilspills.html.

The page provides links to information on how the United States responds to oil spills, state agencies in the Gulf region that respond to spills, occupational hazards for professionals and volunteers assisting with clean-up, seafood safety and more.

The links under "Featured Sites" focus on the latest updates about the recent spill and subsequent controlled burning of crude oil in the Gulf of Mexico. This spill followed the explosion and sinking of the Deepwater Horizon Mobile Offshore Drilling Unit oil platform 50 miles southeast of the Mississippi Delta on April 20, 2010.

This information is compiled by the Disaster Information Management Research Center (DIMRC), Specialized Information Services (SIS), US National Library of Medicine (NLM). http://sis.nlm.nih.gov/dimrc.html
Email to tehip@teh.nlm.nih.gov

Please post your comments here. Comments are moderated, so they may not appear immediately after submitting. We will not post comments that we consider abusive or off-topic.

Please type the letters/numbers you see above

More from 1105 Public Sector Media Group