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. With an understanding that the use of restoration funds will be guided by specific criteria, Louisiana is committed to maximizing its investment in oil spill recovery activities by implementing restoration projects that are consistent with the Louisiana Coastal Master Plan to the extent possible.
There continue to be multiple opportunities for public involvement throughout the oil spill restoration planning process. Regular updates are provided at the monthly CPRA Board meetings (a sample presentation from the November 2012 Board meeting is available here). The CPRA will continue to use these public meetings as a forum to discuss updates in the planning process, to seek public input on restoration efforts, and to solicit restoration project ideas. Each monthly meeting includes a public comment period dedicated to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Additional public meetings specific to oil spill restoration planning will be held in the coming months. Please visit the CPRA calendar for meeting details. In addition to submitting project ideas during the public meetings, restoration projects may also be submitted electronically to email@example.com.
As we work to restore our coast from the impacts and losses associated with the Deepwater Horizon oil spill it is important that we have a common vision. The Master Plan will play a crucial role in the selection and development of projects during oil spill restoration planning.
The following information provides an overview of anticipated sources of funding for oil spill 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.
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.
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.
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.