Groups Praise Quick Release of Gulf Oil Spill Restoration Plan
Commend commitment to restore Gulf ecosystems and communities
Emily Guidry Schatzel
Groups working on Gulf Coast restoration praised the quick release of a Draft Phase I Early Restoration Plan and Environmental Assessment today by the Deepwater Horizon Natural Resource Damage Assessment Trustees.
“The trustees rightly recognize the urgent need for a comprehensive strategy that puts BP’s $1 billion down payment on the Natural Resource Damage Assessment to work quickly restoring Gulf ecosystems and communities that were impacted by the oil disaster,” said a joint statement by Environmental Defense Fund, National Audubon Society, National Wildlife Federation, The Nature Conservancy, Ocean Conservancy and Oxfam America. “We look forward to working with them to review and hone the draft plan to advance projects that support comprehensive restoration.”
The Deepwater Horizon Natural Resource Damage Assessment Trustees are a group of state and federal leaders charged with restoring natural resources damaged by the Gulf oil spill. This draft plan is the first in an anticipated series designed to begin long-term restoration efforts. The trustees will hold public meetings in January and February 2012 throughout Gulf Coast communities and in Washington, D.C., to solicit public input on the Draft Phase I Early Restoration Plan and Environmental Assessment. The comment period will extend through Feb. 14, 2012.
“We thank the trustees for providing an extended 60-day public comment period and a series of coast-wide public hearings for review of the restoration plan, environmental assessment and first round projects announced today,” concluded the statement.
While the NRDA process seeks to address the direct damages caused by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, the RESTORE Act, which has been moving in both chambers of Congress, seeks to dedicate fines paid by those responsible for last year’s oil spill to support the long term restoration needs of the Gulf from decades of natural and manmade disasters.