Justice Opens 60-Day Public Comment Period for the Draft Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill Programmatic Damage Assessment and Restoration Plan and associated Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement

Last edited 09/03/2020

The Deepwater Horizon Natural Resource Damage Assessment Trustees, representing five Gulf States, the U.S. Department of the Interior and three other federal agencies, proposed a draft plan for damage assessment and restoration in the Gulf region affected by the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill.  The draft plan, released upon announcement of a proposed civil settlement of the Deepwater Horizon litigation, outlines a strategy for allocating $8 billion in resources that will achieve an ecosystem-scale restoration of the Gulf region’s natural resources impacted by the spill.  

The restoration proposal, otherwise known as the Draft Programmatic Damage Assessment and Restoration Plan and Draft Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (Draft PDARP/PEIS), includes restoring and conserving habitat; restoring water quality; replenishing and protecting living coastal and marine resources; as well as providing and enhancing recreational opportunities along the Gulf Coast.  The draft also provides for monitoring, adaptive management, and administrative oversight to support restoration implementation.  Adoption of the draft plan and environmental impact statement are subject to public review and adoption by the Trustees.

The Trustees’ proposal comes on the heels of an announcement made yesterday by

U. S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch who said that the United States and the Gulf States have agreed to a proposed settlement to resolve civil claims against BP arising from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.  Shortly before the announcement was made, the Department of Justice lodged a consent decree in federal court in New Orleans.  The consent decree agreement represents the largest environmental settlement in U.S. history, and once approved by the court, will sustain one of the largest natural resource restoration efforts ever undertaken in the United States.

The Trustees’ draft plan is a companion document to the consent decree.  The draft plan will serve as a roadmap for how restoration strategies that affect federally managed natural resources will be implemented, as well as direct how future funds may be allocated.  The draft plan is anchored by a broad ecosystem level assessment and proposes to implement 13 restoration types designed to meet five restoration goals that will help restore the Gulf’s natural resources.

Following a process prescribed by federal law, the Trustees completed a thorough injury assessment process, as well as a restoration planning phase that included identifying and quantifying damages, selection and evaluation of restoration alternatives, and a designated chosen restoration alternative.  The proposed draft plan released by the Trustees today represents the culmination of these efforts into a draft damage assessment and restoration plan.  Following public comment, a final plan will be issued.  

Under federal law, federal, state and tribal governments with jurisdictions over impacted areas from oil spills may come together to assess damages to natural resources and to develop and implement a plan for restoration.  A trustee represents affected governmental entities. The Deepwater Horizon Natural Resource Damage Assessment Trustees are made up of representatives from the States of Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas, as well as representatives from the U.S. Department of the Interior, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) on behalf of the U.S. Department of Commerce, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency the U.S. Department of Defense

The Trustees will take public comment of the Draft PDARP/PEIS through December 4, 2015. To read more about the plan or to submit your comments, please go to the Trustees website at www.gulfspillrestoration.noaa.gov or                                                 www.doi.gov/deepwaterhorizon


Further Reading:

Download the 50-Page Plan Summary


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