BP and federal and state Natural Resource Damages (NRD) Trustees have reached agreement in principle on two additional proposed early restoration projects in Louisiana that are expected to cost approximately $340 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 has been working diligently with the Trustees to develop additional projects to meet BP's commitment to early restoration. In fact, for several months now BP had an agreement in principle with the Trustees to proceed with a number of projects, including those announced today by Louisiana. The Trustees made a decision to hold such announcements until months after our agreement in principle.
“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 Louisiana,” 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.”
BP and the Trustees have now agreed to a total of four early restoration projects in Louisiana expected to cost approximately $370 million, including two projects that were approved in 2012 and are already underway. BP stepped up to make funds available, enabling restoration projects to begin before the ongoing NRD assessment is complete.
The new Louisiana projects will create a fish hatchery facility and will rebuild and restore beach, dune and marsh habitat on a number of coastal Louisiana islands.
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.
Louisiana Lake Hermitage Marsh Project will create 104 acres of marsh within the Barataria Hydrologic Basin in Plaquemines Parish. Sediment will be dredged from the Mississippi River and pumped via pipeline to the project area. This is designed to produce the desired elevation and the ability to plant native vegetation in the sediment. Base cost: $13,200,000 (final payment complete; Base cost + contingency cost: $14,400,000 (contingency cost pending)
Louisiana Oyster Cultch Project will create productive oyster cultch areas on public oyster seed grounds in six locations across 850 acres throughout coastal Louisiana. In addition, improvements will be made to an existing oyster hatchery on Grand Isle, which will produce larvae to be released over the cultch material. Base cost: $14,874,300 (final payment complete); Base cost + contingency cost: $15,582,600 (contingency cost pending)
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Louisiana early restoration projects announced today include:
Louisiana Outer Coast Restoration Project will restore beach, dune and marsh habitat on Whiskey Island (Calliou Lake Headlands), Chenier Ronquille Island, the east and west lobes of Shell Island, and North Breton Island. Restoring these barrier islands will help protect Louisiana’s wetlands and slow coastal erosion. The project will create beaches, dunes and marshes; repair breaches in the shoreline; and revegetate the islands using appropriate native species. Estimated cost: $318,363,000
Louisiana Fish Hatchery Project will build a hatchery facility for the production of three important species of recreational fish: speckled trout, red drum and southern flounder. The facility will be located on a 90-acre site and will include 3 one-half acre ponds; 14,000 square feet of building space; a reservoir and pumping station; and a youth fishing pond and kayak launch. The building space would include hatchery production as well as a lobby with educational displays, a classroom/conference room, and production touring areas for visitors. Estimated cost: $22,000,000