State and federal Trustees today unveiled the first set of early environmental restoration projects that are proposed for funding under the landmark agreement BP Exploration & Production, Inc. (BP) signed with the Trustees in April 2011. The eight proposed projects are located in Alabama, Florida, Louisiana and Mississippi. Collectively, the projects will restore and enhance wildlife, habitats, the services provided by those habitats, and provide additional access for fishing, boating and related recreational uses. More early restoration projects are anticipated in the future.
Under the unprecedented April agreement, BP voluntarily committed to provide up to $1 billion to fund projects that will accelerate restoration efforts in Gulf Coast areas that were impacted by the Deepwater Horizon accident. The agreement enables work on restoration projects to begin at the earliest opportunity, before all of the studies under the Natural Resource Damage Assessment (NRDA) process are complete, and before funding is required by the Oil Pollution Act (OPA).
The Trustees responsible for identifying and implementing the first set of projects are from Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, the Department of the Interior and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The public will have the opportunity to review and comment on the initial projects before final approval and funding.
“The Trustees selected projects that are ready to implement quickly and will bring long-term benefits to the region,” said Mike Utsler, Head of BP’s Gulf Coast Restoration Organization. “BP is committed to the Gulf and we look forward to working with state and federal Trustees to identify additional early restoration projects that benefit the Gulf ecosystem and the people who live, work or visit the region.”
The initial projects were proposed for funding after the Trustees sought and received input from members of the public, local officials, environmental organizations and others. The first projects selected are:
Since the early days following the spill, BP has worked with federal and state agencies to collect the data needed to assess damages to natural resources. More than 150 cooperative studies are underway to assess injury to wildlife and habitat in the Gulf of Mexico. The Trustees used data collected to date to identify injuries and select the first set of projects proposed for early restoration funding.
Funding for the early restoration projects will come from the $20 billion trust BP established in 2010 to meet individual, business and government claims, as well as the costs of natural resource damages.
In addition to reviewing and providing comment on the initial projects, the public can still submit project proposals. Projects that have the potential to deliver the greatest benefits to wildlife, habitat and recreational use will receive priority. Early restoration project proposals and additional information can be found on the following website link: