BP and federal and state Natural Resource Damages (NRD) Trustees have reached agreement in principle on 28 additional proposed early restoration projects in the Gulf of Mexico that are expected to cost approximately $594 million, including human use (recreational use) projects totaling approximately $197 million. The projects are part of BP's unprecedented commitment to provide up to $1 billion in early restoration funding to expedite recovery of natural resources injured as a result of the Deepwater Horizon accident.
BP and the Trustees have now agreed on a total of 38 early restoration projects expected to cost approximately $665 million, including 10 projects that were approved in 2012 and are already underway. BP stepped up to make funds available while the NRD assessment is ongoing, enabling restoration projects to begin long before they otherwise would have.
“We are extremely pleased to have reached agreement with the Trustees on the new projects, which will provide significant long-term benefits to the environment and the people of the Gulf Coast region,” said Laura Folse, BP’s Executive Vice President for Response and Environmental Restoration. “With the help of the extensive cleanup efforts, early restoration projects, and natural recovery processes, the Gulf is returning to its baseline condition, which is the condition it would be in if the accident had not occurred.”
The 28 new projects are located across Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida, and will include ecological projects that restore habitat and resources, as well as projects that enhance recreational use of Gulf of Mexico natural resources. The Trustees will give the public an opportunity to review and comment on the projects before final approval and funding.
The ecological projects will include restoration of dune and seagrass habitats, as well as barrier islands that protect coastal areas from waves and tides, and the creation of living shorelines – made from organic materials – that protect against coastal erosion and provide habitat for wildlife.
The recreational use projects are designed to address the temporary loss of use and enjoyment of natural resources during the time when the resources were in a condition that reduced human use, including, for example, the period when some beaches and waters were closed. Although a number of the project locations were not directly injured by the accident, the projects address loss of use by providing residents and visitors with new recreational options, better access to existing natural resources and a greater opportunity to enjoy them.
The Agreement between BP and the Trustees is unique in that it makes it possible for restoration to begin at an earlier stage of the NRD process. NRD restoration projects are typically funded only after a final settlement has been reached or a final court judgment has been entered. The Agreement allows the parties to expedite projects to restore, replace or acquire the equivalent of injured natural resources in the Gulf soon after an injury is identified, reducing the time needed to achieve restoration of those resources.
Under the Agreement, BP provides the funding and the Trustees implement the projects. Funding is provided from the $20 billion trust BP established in 2010 to pay claims, final judgments in litigation and litigation settlements, state and local response costs and claims, and natural resource damages and related costs.
In addition to the early restoration projects, to meet its commitments in the Gulf, BP has spent more than $14 billion in operational response and clean-up costs; has paid $10.7 billion to individuals, businesses and government entities for claims, settlements and other payments; and has agreed to a settlement with the Plaintiff’s Steering Committee that will resolve the substantial majority of outstanding private economic loss, property damage and medical claims.