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.
The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) awarded funding for five projects totaling more than $245 million from its Gulf Environmental Benefit Fund (GEBF) to the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority (CPRA) of Louisiana. The projects, developed in consultation with CPRA and federal resource agencies, are designed to advance critical river diversion projects within Louisiana’s Comprehensive Masterplan for a Sustainable Coast.
New projects include the engineering and design of two major sediment diversions along the Lower Mississippi River that, once constructed, will restore and protect thousands of acres of vulnerable coastal wetlands in Louisiana. Construction on these major coastal restoration projects is estimated to begin as early as 2021.
Louisiana also will advance engineering and design on a freshwater diversion of the Atchafalaya River to protect marshes in the upper part of Terrebonne Parish Louisiana. The state also will continue its effort to adaptively manage these critical coastal restoration projects.