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DOI News



Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill -- 60-Day Comment Period on Draft Early Restoration Plan and Environmental Impact Statement


12/06/2013


On December 6, 2013, the federal and State natural trustees opened a 60-Day public comment period for the Draft Programmatic and Phase III Early Restoration Plan and Draft Early Restoration Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (Draft Phase III ERP/PEIS). The Draft Phase III ERP/PEIS considers programmatic alternatives to restore natural resources, ecological services, and recreational use services injured or lost as a result of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in 2010.

Beach
Included in the Draft Phase III ERP/PEIS are 44 proposed projects that aim to restore barrier islands, dunes, marshes, shorelines, seagrasses, and oyster beds. They also begin to address lost recreational use of natural resources through boat ramps, park enhancements, and other projects. Photo Credit: NOAA
The natural resource trustees in this case include:

  • U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI), as represented by the National Park Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and Bureau of Land Management;

  • National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), on behalf of the U.S. Department of Commerce;

  • U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA);

  • U.S. Department of Defense (DOD); 

  • U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA);

  • State of Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority, Oil Spill Coordinator's Office, Department of Environmental Quality, Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, and Department of Natural Resources;

  • State of Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality;

  • State of Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources and Geological Survey of Alabama;

  • State of Florida Department of Environmental Protection and Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission;

  • For the State of Texas: Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, Texas General Land Office, and Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.

On April 20, 2010, the mobile offshore drilling unit Deepwater Horizon, experienced a significant explosion, fire and subsequent sinking in the Gulf of Mexico, resulting in the largest oil spill in U.S. history, discharging millions of barrels of oil over a period of eighty-seven days. In addition, well over one million gallons of dispersants were applied to the waters of the spill area in an attempt to disperse the spilled oil.

On April 20, 2011, BP agreed to provide up to $1 billion toward early restoration projects in the Gulf of Mexico to address injuries to natural resources caused by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. In addition to the 10 projects contained in the Phase I and Phase II Early Restoration Plans, the Trustees are proposing 44 additional early restoration projects in Phase III. The total estimated cost for proposed Phase III projects is approximately $625 million.

The Trustees have scheduled a series of public meetings to facilitate public review and comment on the Draft Phase III ERP/PEIS. The public meeting schedule is as follows:

Date
Time
Location
Mon., Dec. 16, 2013
6:00 PM Open House 
6:30 PM Public Meeting
Mobile, AL.
Tues., Dec. 17, 2013
6:00 PM Open House 
6:30 PM Public Meeting
Long Beach, MS.
Tues., Jan. 14, 2014
5:30 PM Open House 
6:00 PM Public Meeting
Belle Chasse, LA.
Wed., Jan. 15, 2014
5:30 PM Open House 
6:00 PM Public Meeting
Thibodaux, LA.
Thurs., Jan. 16, 2014
5:30 PM Open House 
6:00 PM Public Meeting
Lake Charles, LA.
Tues., Jan. 21, 2014
6:00 PM Open House 
6:30 PM Public Meeting
Port Arthur, TX.
Wed., Jan. 22, 2014
6:00 PM Open House 
6:30 PM Public Meeting
Galveston, TX.
Thurs., Jan. 23, 2014
6:00 PM Open House 
6:30 PM Public Meeting
Corpus Christi, TX.
Tues., Jan. 28, 2014
6:00 PM Open House 
6:30 PM Public Meeting
Pensacola, FL.
Wed., Jan. 29, 2014
6:00 PM Open House 
6:30 PM Public Meeting
Panama City, FL.

After the public comment period ends, the Trustees will consider and address the comments received before issuing a Final Programmatic and Phase III Early Restoration Plan and Final Early Restoration Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement.

Further reading: