Trustees Release Final Phase I Early Restoration Plan and Environmental Assessment for Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill, Gulf of Mexico
Weathered oil from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill and oiled marine debris wash ashore on June 11, 2010 at Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge on the Gulf of Mexico in Baldwin County, Alabama. Photo credit: Jereme Phillips, FWS.
On April 18, 2012 the federal and state natural resource trustees released the final, publicly-reviewed “Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill Phase I Early Restoration Plan and Environmental Assessment.” The natural resource trustees in this case include:
- State of Alabama, represented by Department of Conservation and Natural Resources and Geological Survey of Alabama;
- State of Florida, represented by Department of Environmental Protection and Fish and Wildlife Commission;
- State of Louisiana, represented by Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority, Department of Environmental Quality, Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, Department of Natural Resources and Oil Spill Coordinator’s Office;
- State of Mississippi, represented by Department of Environmental Quality; State of Texas, represented by Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, Texas General Land Office and Texas Parks and Wildlife Department;
- U.S. Department of Commerce, represented by National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration; and,
- U.S. Department of the Interior, represented by Bureau of Land Management, National Park Service and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
The Deepwater Horizon oil spill began on April 20, 2010 when the floating, mobile drilling unit Deepwater Horizon, which was drilling an exploratory oil well 50 miles off the Louisiana coast in the Gulf of Mexico for BP Exploration and Production, Inc., exploded, caught fire and sank. Over the next three months, an estimated 210 million gallons of crude oil was released into the Gulf. Additionally, some 771,000 gallons of dispersants were applied to the oil both on the surface and one mile down at the wellhead as a response action.
One year after the explosion on the Deepwater Horizon, BP and the trustees entered into an agreement that called for BP to set aside $1 billion for publicly-reviewed, early restoration projects mutually agreed upon by BP and the trustees. In this Phase I Early Restoration Plan, $60 million in early restoration projects have been selected to initiate the long-term restoration of injured natural resources and natural resource services.
Among the hundreds of potential projects suggested by the public in writing and at 12 public forums held earlier this year, this Phase I Early Restoration Plan selects eight, initial projects to restore injured natural resources and natural resource services:
- two projects in Alabama, including: a dune restoration in Baldwin County and a marsh restoration in Mobile County;
- two projects in Florida, including: a boat ramp enhancement and a dune restoration, both in Escambia County;
- two projects in Louisiana, including: a marsh restoration in Plaquemines Parish and a coastal oyster reef restoration; and,
- two projects in Mississippi, including: an oyster reef restoration in Mississippi Bay and a nearshore artificial reef.
Implementation of these projects is to begin soon.
- DOI Press Release (dated April 18, 2012)
- Trustee Council Press Release (dated April 18, 2012)
- Federal Register Notice (dated April 20, 2012)
- Phase I Emergency Restoration Plan and Environmental Assessment (dated April 17, 2012)
- DOI Deepwater Horizon Response & Restoration website
- Pensacola News Journal press report (dated April 20, 2012)
- Austin Statesman press report (dated April 29, 2012)
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