Deepwater Horizon Trustees Invite Public Comment on 10 Proposed Early Restoration Gulf Projects
AUSTIN, May 21, 2015 - The Deepwater Horizon oil spill Natural Resource Damage Assessment Trustees (Trustees) released a draft plan today that proposes 10 early restoration projects across the Gulf states at an estimated cost of $134 million. This includes two proposals involving Texas, a $45 million sea turtle restoration project and a $20 million bird rookery islands restoration project.
The Draft Phase IV Early Restoration Plan and Environmental Assessments (Draft Plan) is available for public review and comment through June 19. It is posted online at www.gulfspillrestoration.noaa.gov and will be available at the meetings listed below.
Two of the projects would enhance bird nesting habitat, four projects would improve nearshore and reef habitats, two projects would enhance recreational opportunities on federal lands, one project would reduce sea turtle mortality and one project would restore pelagic fish across the Gulf. The project names are listed here:
Early restoration allows the Trustees to jump-start restoration using up to $1 billion BP has agreed to make available for projects jointly agreed to by BP and the Trustees. In return, the Trustees agree to provide BP with project-specific offsets that the Trustees will apply in the future to reduce BP’s liability for natural resource damages resulting from the spill.
Out of the $134 million estimated costs of Phase IV, about $126 million (94% of total) would be devoted to ecological projects and about $8 million (6% of total) would be devoted to projects that address lost recreational use.
If the latest round of identified projects is approved and funded, approximately $832 million of the $1 billion would be obligated. More information about the first three phases of early restoration can be found at www.gulfspillrestoration.noaa.gov.
All public meetings will begin with an interactive open house during which Trustee staff will be available to discuss project details. The open house will be followed by a formal presentation and opportunity for the public to provide comments to Trustee representatives.
Copies of the Draft Plan are available at a number of public locations in Gulf communities. Visit www.gulfspillrestoration.noaa.govto view a list of public libraries and community locations in which copies of the Draft Plan have been placed for public review.
In addition to verbal comments provided at public meetings, the public may also submit written comments through June 19, 2015:
• Online: www.gulfspillrestoration.noaa.gov
• By U.S. Mail: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, P.O. Box 49567, Atlanta, GA 30345
Early restoration is not intended to provide the full extent of restoration needed to satisfy the Trustees’ claims against BP. The Deepwater Horizon oil spill Natural Resource Damage Assessment and restoration will continue until the public is fully compensated for the natural resources and services that were lost as a result of the spill.