BP and federal and state Natural Resource Damages (NRD) Trustees have reached agreement in principle on three additional proposed early restoration projects in Alabama that are expected to cost approximately $94 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 to a total of seven early restoration projects in Alabama expected to cost approximately $108 million, including four 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 Alabama,” 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 new Alabama projects will include ecological projects that restore habitat and resources, as well as a project that will enhance recreational use of natural resources. The ecological projects will include restoration of oyster habitats and the creation of a living shoreline – made from organic materials – that will protect against coastal erosion and provide habitat for wildlife.
The recreational use project will include the rebuilding of the Gulf State Park Lodge as a ‘green” facility, as well as other enhancements to the park. Recreation 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.