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Trustees Open 30-Day Public Comment Period on Draft Phase II Early Restoration Plan for Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill, Gulf of Mexico


11/06/2012

release of Kemp's ridley sea turtle hatchlings at Padre Island National Seashore Padre Island National Seashore Superintendent Joe Escoto and Donna Shaver, the National Seashore’s Chief of Sea Turtle Science and Recovery Division, release 94 Kemp’s ridley sea turtle hatchlings, a federally-endangered species, on June 28, 2012, along the Texas coast. A sea turtle restoration project is one of two natural resource restoration projects proposed in the Draft Phase II Restoration Plan. Photo credit: NPS.

 

On November 6, 2012, the federal and state natural resource trustees opened a 30-day public comment period on “Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill Draft Phase II Early Restoration Plan and Environmental Review.”

The natural resource trustees in this case include:

  • State of Alabama, represented by Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources and Geological Survey of Alabama;
  • State of Florida, represented by Florida Department of Environmental Protection and Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission;
  • State of Louisiana, represented by Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority, Louisiana Oil Spill Coordinator’s Office, Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality, Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries and Louisiana Department of Natural Resources;
  • State of Mississippi, represented by Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality;
  • State of Texas, represented by Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, Texas General Land Office and Texas Commission on Environmental Quality;
  • U.S. Department of Agriculture;
  • U.S. Department of Commerce, represented by National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration;
  • U.S. Department of Defense;
  • U.S. Department of the Interior, represented by Bureau of Land Management, National Park Service and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; and,
  • U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

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. A publicly-reviewed Phase I Early Restoration Plan, detailing eight natural resource restoration projects worth $60 million, was released by the trustees in April 2012.

This Draft Phase II Early Restoration Plan proposes two additional, early restoration projects worth about $9 million:

  • A project to benefit beach-nesting birds by protecting nesting habitat from disturbance in order to restore habitat impaired by oil spill response activities to be implemented on sandy beaches in seven Florida counties, two Alabama counties and in the Gulf Islands National Seashore in Mississippi; and,
  • A project to benefit sea turtles by reducing artificial lighting impacts on nesting habitat to restore habitat impaired by disturbance from oil spill response activities to be implemented on sandy beach public properties in seven Florida counties and one Alabama county.

Written comments on the Draft Phase II Early Restoration Plan must be received by the trustees -- via e-mail, via the web or via regular mail -- by Monday, December 10, 2012.

Further reading: