Oil Spill Follow-Up
Click here to visit the State’s comprehensive website on post-spill restoration activities.
Oil Spill Restoration
As oil spill injuries are determined and penalties are assessed, multiple avenues for restoration are anticipated. Although the timing and amount of funds related to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill have not been fully determined, preliminary oil spill restoration planning is underway.
In June 2012, Congress proactively passed the RESTORE Act, which dedicates 80 percent of all prospective Clean Water Act administrative and civil penalties related to the Deepwater Horizon spill to a Gulf Coast Restoration Trust Fund. The RESTORE Act also outlines a structure by which the funds can be utilized to restore and protect the natural resources, ecosystems, fisheries, marine and wildlife habitats, beaches, coastal wetlands, and economy of the Gulf Coast region.
The RESTORE Act outlines the following framework for allocation of the Trust Fund:
- 35 percent equally divided among the five States for ecological restoration, economic development, and tourism promotion;
- 30 percent plus interest managed by the Council for ecosystem restoration under the Comprehensive Plan;
- 30 percent divided among the States according to a formula to implement State expenditure plans, which require approval of the Council;
- 2.5 percent plus interest for the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Science, Observation, Monitoring and Technology Program within the Department of Commerce’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA); and
- 2.5 percent plus interest allocated to the States for Centers of Excellence Research grants, which will each focus on science, technology, and monitoring related to Gulf restoration.
In January 2013, Transocean agreed to pay $1 billion to resolve federal Clean Water Act civil penalties. The total amount of BP’s Clean Water Act civil penalties will be determined by the upcoming civil trial, which has concluded and is awaiting the judge’s decision.
In 2014, the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority Board approved the following five projects for submission to the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council for consideration under the Council-Selected Restoration Component of the RESTORE Act.
- Golden Triangle Marsh Creation Project – a project to restore and protect wetland, fish, and wildlife habitat to help maintain landscape integrity and enhance community resilience. Download project fact sheet. Download project proposal.
- Mississippi River Reintroduction into Maurepas Swamp Project – a project to restore and enhance the health and sustainability of the Maurepas Swamp through the reintroduction of seasonal Mississippi River inflow. Download project fact sheet. Download project proposal.
- Biloxi Marsh Living Shoreline Project – a project needed to protect, enhance, and restore the Biloxi Marshes, which function as an important storm buffer for the City of New Orleans. Download project fact sheet. Download project proposal.
- West Grand Terre Beach Nourishment and Stabilization Project – a project to restore and enhance dune and back barrier marsh habitat to provide storm surge and wave attenuation, thereby addressing the issues of gulf shoreline erosion, diminished storm surge protection, and subsidence of back barrier marshes. Download project fact sheet. Download project proposal.
- Lower Mississippi River Management Program – a project to refine current river management practices to achieve habitat restoration and conservation, while maintaining the integrity of flood protection and navigation management projects and goals.
Natural Resource Damage Assessment Restoration
A Natural Resource Damage Assessment is the process used by natural resource trustees to develop, on behalf of the public, their claim for natural resource damages against the party or parties responsible for the spill. Through that claim, the trustees will seek compensation in the form of restoration for the harm done to natural resources and services.
To learn more about the Deepwater Horizon NRDA, please visit: http://www.losco-dwh.com/
April 21, 2011, the Deepwater Horizon NRDA Trustees announced an agreement under which BP committed to provide $1 billion toward implementation of early restoration projects. This early restoration agreement is the largest of its kind ever reached and represents an initial step toward fulfilling the responsible parties’ obligation to fund the complete restoration of injured natural resources.
These funds will be divided among the trustees pursuant to an early restoration allocation agreement:
- $500 million split equally among the Gulf state trustees (Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, and Texas)
- $200 million split equally among the federal trustees (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the U.S. Department of the Interior)
- $300 million to fund state-proposed restoration projects
Early restoration provides an opportunity to implement restoration projects prior to the completion of the Natural Resource Damage Assessment (NRDA). NRDAs can be prolonged and complex, in some cases lasting many years. Typically in a NRDA, natural resource trustees develop a restoration plan or series of plans to compensate for the impacts following an assessment of the injuries. When opportunities arise, however, early restoration projects may be developed in order to achieve restoration faster. The long-term damage assessment will continue while early restoration planning is under way.
BP and the other responsible parties ultimately will be obligated to compensate the public for the entire injury and all costs of the NRDA.
Click the link below for:
National Fish and Wildlife Foundation aka Criminal Fines
In January 2013, the Court approved a $4 billion settlement for BP’s criminal violations of the Clean Water Act, the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, obstruction of Congress and the loss of 11 lives. A portion of the monies, $2.394 billion, was directed to the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) for natural resources restoration in the Gulf of Mexico.
Approximately $1.2 billion of the funds directed to NFWF is dedicated to targeting Louisiana impacts by using the funds to “create or restore barrier islands off the coast of Louisiana and/or to implement river diversion projects on the Mississippi and/or Atchafalaya Rivers for the purpose of creating, preserving and restoring coastal habitat”.
The agreement states that NFWF must consider the Louisiana Coastal Master Plan and the Louisiana Coastal Area Mississippi River Hydrodynamic and Delta Management Study “to identify the highest priority projects, and to maximize the environmental benefits of such projects.
In February 2013, the Court approved a $400 million settlement with Transocean for its criminal violations of the Clean Water Act. Money from the criminal settlement will be split as follows: $150 million will be distributed by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation for Gulf Coast environmental restoration, $150 million will fund a National Academy of Sciences Gulf environmental protection and offshore oil safety research and education endowment; and $100 million will be deposited into the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund.