Deepwater Horizon Trustees Call for Public Input on Gulf Restoration

Source: 
Florida Department of Environmental Protection

Sixty-day public comment period is for early draft of restoration plan

The Deepwater Horizon Natural Resource Damage Assessment (NRDA) trustees released the "Deepwater Horizon Draft Phase I Early Restoration Plan & Environmental Assessment" (DERP/EA) for formal public comment. It is the first in an anticipated series of plans to begin restoration of the Gulf of Mexico to compensate for natural resource injuries, including the loss of human use of Gulf resources from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

The DERP/EA describes the initial projects proposed to receive funding from the $1 billion early restoration agreement announced by the trustees and BP on April 21, 2011, called the framework agreement. The trustees will hold 12 public meetings in January and February 2012 throughout Gulf Coast communities and in Washington, D.C., to solicit formal public comment on the DERP/EA.

"Public feedback is of the utmost importance, and we encourage people to submit comments and attend the upcoming public meetings," said Cooper Shattuck, chair of the trustee council executive committee. "This is the first step in beginning restoration of injuries caused by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. While continuing to accept project ideas, we will move forward with additional phases of early restoration until the entire $1 billion is committed to Gulf Coast restoration."

The DERP/EA describes eight proposed projects for the initial round of early restoration, two each in Alabama, Florida, Louisiana and Mississippi. These projects reflect the ideas and input received by the trustees through project solicitation and outreach efforts. The proposed projects include shoreline marsh creation, coastal dune habitat restoration, nearshore artificial reef creation, oyster cultch restoration and construction of boat ramp facilities. The total estimated cost of the proposed initial suite of projects is more than $57 million.

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