Deepwater Horizon Trustees Settle with BP for Natural Resource Injuries to the Gulf

NEW ORLEANS, April 5, 2016 - The Deepwater Horizon oil spill Natural Resource Damage Assessment Trustees (Trustees) have settled with BP for natural resource injuries stemming from the spill. This settlement concludes the largest natural resource damage assessment ever undertaken. The Trustee Council will now begin implementing restoration as laid out in the comprehensive restoration plan.

The Trustees recognize the historic significance of this settlement—the largest recovery of damages ever for injuries to natural resources. This settlement is a momentous step towards restoring the Gulf of Mexico– bringing an unprecedented amount of funding dedicated to this iconic ecosystem.

The Trustees would not have reached this day without the commitment of thousands of people at the local, state, and federal levels who contributed their expertise to formulate the restoration plan. The Trustees owe them a debt of gratitude and a pledge to continue to do all we can to restore the Gulf of Mexico for the benefit of its natural resources and those that depend on them for their livelihood and recreational use.

Under this settlement, BP will pay the Trustees up to $8.8 billion for restoration to address natural resource injuries. The settlement includes:

  • $1 billion already committed during early restoration
  • $7.1 billion for restoration over 15-plus years, beginning in April 2017
  • Up to an additional $700 million to respond to natural resource damages unknown at the time of the agreement and/or to provide for adaptive management

The settlement allocates $238 million for Texas restoration efforts, which includes approximately $49 million already received as part of early restoration. The settlement will fund work in Texas to restore wetlands and other coastal habitats, reduce nonpoint source pollution, and restore coastal and marine resources injured by the spill, such as oysters, birds, and sea turtles. Restoration work in Texas will also be conducted via region-wide planning in coordination with the other trustees.

The Trustees undertook an ecosystem approach to assessing the natural resources negatively impacted by the spill. This settlement shaped the Programmatic Damage Assessment and Restoration Plan and Final Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement, finalized in February 2016. The Trustees considered more than 6,300 public comments when finalizing the plan.

Last month, the Trustees made a final decision to select the comprehensive, integrated, ecosystem restoration alternative laid out in the final plan as our approach for restoration implementation. This decision has been approved by the court, and the case is settled. The Trustees can now begin implementing restoration as laid out in the final plan. The Trustees will continue to solicit input from the public as we begin to develop project-specific restoration plans.

Moving forward, Texas trustees will develop project-specific restoration proposals for the Texas coast, consistent with the funding allocations laid out in the comprehensive restoration plan. The public will have the opportunity to review and comment on proposed project-specific restoration plans, through public meetings, online review and other means.

Once approved, the Texas trustees will commence restoration planning, implementation, and monitoring of the selected projects. Texas will also be involved in region-wide projects, and will consult with the federal trustees on open-ocean projects. Texas trustees include the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, Texas General Land Office, and Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, in coordination with federal trustees.

For more information about this agreement and next steps, visit www.gulfspillrestoration.noaa.gov.

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