On April 20, 2010, the Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion initiated an immense tragedy that took eleven lives and spewed over three million barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico, causing one of the largest environmental disasters in U.S. history.
As a result of the various legal settlements and fines imposed, more than $7.29 billion in settlement money will be awarded to the State of Louisiana for coastal projects through 2031, and another $1 billion will be awarded for economic damages. CPRA, the lead trustee administering the Louisiana settlements, has seized on the decade since the spill, making significant strides toward the restoration of the Louisiana coastline.
CPRA has completed nine oil spill projects to date that have created or benefited more than 3,400 acres of land, restored critical habitats for the state’s fish and wildlife, and provided improved recreational access to its people. With twelve additional projects currently under or nearing construction and another 26 in design, CPRA will create or benefit more than 150,000 acres of coastal wetlands using Deepwater Horizon settlement funds.
Ultimately, the financial penalties and settlements associated with the oil spill have afforded Louisiana the opportunity to fund its innovative, aggressive approach to combating coastal land loss through outlined in its $50 billion Coastal Master Plan – the largest scale coastal protection and restoration plan in the country.
Today, settlements from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill are funding comprehensive, science-backed solutions for Louisiana’s land loss crisis. Since the 1930s, Louisiana has lost nearly 2,000 square miles of its coastal wetlands. A football field of land disappears every 90-minutes along our coast, and projections suggest Louisiana is at risk of losing an additional 4,000 square miles of land over the next 50 years.
Without action, Louisiana’s disappearing coast will have devastating impacts on the state and nation’s economic and energy security. For this reason, CPRA is developing projects using the most cutting-edge science and research available as part of our mission to restore and preserve Louisiana’s coastal habitats, natural resources, cultural heritage, and working coast and improve flood protection for its communities.
Coastal Project Funding in Louisiana Using Oil Spill Settlement Funds:
Photo Credit: PJ Hahn
Photo Credit: Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries