BISCO in the News

Sharon Foret - Thu Apr 29, 2010 @ 04:20AM
Comments: 23

Date: April 28, 2010
Update: Controlled burn scheduled to begin


NEW ORLEANS – The response to British Petroleum/Transocean’s Deepwater Horizon incident continues as responders have scheduled a controlled, on-location burn to begin at 10 a.m. CDT today—a strategy designed to minimize environmental risks by removing large quantities of oil in the Gulf of Mexico following the April 20 explosion.  

Part of a coordinated response combining tactics deployed above water, below water, dozens of miles offshore, as well as closer to coastal areas, today’s controlled burn will rapidly remove oil from the open water in an effort to protect shoreline and marine and other wildlife.

Workboats will consolidate oil into a fire resistant boom approximately 500 feet long. This oil will then be towed to a more remote area, where it will be ignited and burned in a controlled manner. The plan calls for small, controlled burns of several thousand gallons of oil lasting approximately one hour each.

No populated areas are expected to be affected by the controlled burn operations and there are no anticipated impacts to marine mammals and sea turtles. In order to ensure safety, the Environmental Protection Agency will continuously monitor air quality and burning will be halted if safety standards cannot be maintained.

The vast majority of this slick will be both addressed through natural means and through use of chemical dispersants. Today’s burn will not affect other ongoing response activities, such as on-water skimming, dispersant application, and subsurface wellhead intervention operations. Preparations are also underway in Louisiana, Mississippi, Florida and Alabama to set up a protective boom to minimize shoreline impact.  

These efforts are happening concurrently with BP/Transocean’s so far unsuccessful efforts to stop the crude that is still leaking from the well. BP is the responsible party due to the fact that they own the oil that was leaking from their well.

Emphasizing the importance of continued vigilance and interagency coordination in the response to BP/Transocean’s Deepwater Horizon incident in the Gulf of Mexico, Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano and Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar yesterday announced the next steps for the investigation that is underway to determine the causes of the explosion, which left 11 workers missing, three critically injured, and an ongoing oil spill that the responsible party and federal agencies are working to contain and clean up.

Assistant to the President for Energy and Climate Change Carol Browner, White House Senior Advisor Valerie Jarrett, Secretary Napolitano, U.S. Coast Guard Commandant Admiral Thad Allen, Secretary Salazar and DOI Deputy Secretary David Hayes also held meetings yesterday with British Petroleum, the responsible party in the oil spill, to discuss the response effort.

A coordinated response continues by federal, state and local partners while the responsible private sector parties work to stop the flow of oil and minimize its environmental impact. Approximately 1,000 total personnel are currently deployed and have used approximately 43,000 gallons of oil dispersant so far. Approximately 260,000 gallons of oily water have been collected. Nearly 50 vessels—including 16 skimming boats, four storage barges, 11 support vessels—and multiple aircraft are conducting containment and cleanup operations in the area.

A Web site has been established where photos, press releases and fact sheets are available at www.deepwaterhorizonresponse.com. A toll free number has been established to report oiled or injured wildlife. To report affected wildlife, call (866) 557-1401. Individuals are urged not to attempt to help injured or oiled animals, but to report any sightings to the toll free number.

Comments: 23
Comments: 33

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, April 7, 2010
Contact: CMS Public Affairs
(202) 690-6145
HUD Public Affairs
(202) 708-0685


HHS, HUD PARTNER TO ALLOW RENTAL ASSISTANCE TO SUPPORT
INDEPENDENT LIVING FOR NON-ELDERLY PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES
$40 million available to local housing agencies to assist 5,300 families

WASHINGTON - Thousands of Americans with disabilities will have housing assistance specifically targeted to meet their needs, Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Shaun Donovan announced today. 
     
As part of President Obama's Year of Community Living initiative, HHS and HUD collaborated to provide housing support for non-elderly persons with disabilities to live productive independent lives in their communities rather than in institutional settings. 
     
HUD is offering approximately $40 million to public housing authorities across the country to fund approximately 5,300 Housing Choice Vouchers for non-elderly persons with disabilities, allowing them to live independently.  HHS will use its network of state Medicaid agencies and local human service organizations to link eligible individuals and their families to local housing agencies who will administer voucher distribution.
     
"This number of vouchers to this community is a major milestone for HUD," said Donovan. "I am pleased that two federal agencies have combined efforts to give these individuals the independence they so desperately want and deserve."   

"This commitment by HHS and HUD to directly link housing support to these individuals will be of immeasurable value not only to them, but to the communities in which they will be living," said Sebelius. "Individuals with disabilities have so much to contribute to the quality of life in our communities when given the freedom and opportunity to do so." 

Of the 5,300 vouchers set aside as part of this program, up to1,000 will be specifically targeted for non-elderly individuals with disabilities currently living in institutions but who could move into the community with assistance (Category II).  The remaining 4,300 (Category I) can be used for this purpose also, but are targeted for use by non-elderly individuals with disabilities and their families in the community to allow them to access affordable housing that adequately meets their needs. 
     
In addition, HUD is encouraging housing authorities to establish a selection preference to make some, or all, of their Category I allocation available to individuals with disabilities and their families who, without housing assistance, are at risk of institutionalization.  Housing authorities have 90 days to submit their applications to HUD. HUD expects to have funding awards ready late fall 2010.

"Many of these individuals are low-income and can not afford market rates for housing.  For a number of Americans, these vouchers, along with Medicaid home and community-based services, are essential supports that make the President's vision for community living possible," Sebelius noted.
     
The vouchers will augment work already being done by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) through its Medicaid Money Follows the Person (MFP) grant program.  Originally set to expire next year, the "Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010" extended the MFP program through 2016 with an additional appropriation of over $2 billion.  The Act also cut to three months, from the previous six months, the amount of time a person must be in an institution to qualify for help making the transition to community life.
     
Now in its third year, the MFP program has made it possible for almost 6,000 people to live more independent lives by providing necessary supports and services in the community.  Some 29 states and the District of Columbia have MFP programs.
     
The Year of Community Living is an outgrowth of a 1999 Supreme Court decision in Olmstead v. L.C., in which the court ruled that under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) unnecessarily institutionalizing a person with a disability who, with proper support, can live in the community can amount to discrimination.  In its ruling, the Court said that institutionalization severely limits the person's ability to interact with family and friends, to work and to make a life for him or herself.
     
As a result of the Olmstead ruling, HHS issued guidance to states on how to make their Medicaid programs more responsive to people living with disabilities who wish to reside in the least restrictive setting.  Today's announcement is yet another step in HHS's 10-year effort to achieve that goal.

To read the full funding announcement, visit HUD's Web site.  More information about the Money Follows the Person program can be found at http://www.cms.hhs.gov/CommunityServices/20_MFP.asp

Comments: 33
powered by Doodlekit™ Website Creator