With BP Settlement Finalized, Time to Put Funds to Work Restoring Louisiana’s Coast
Tomorrow marks six years since the BP Deepwater Horizon rig exploded, killing 11 men and spewing more than 3.19 million barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico. Earlier this month, U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier finalized the historic $20.8 billion settlement with BP – the largest environmental settlement in U.S. history – for the massive damages caused by the spill. Louisiana is poised to receive nearly $8 billion over the next 15 years from the settlement, or about half a billion dollars per year, which it will use to advance the largest environmental restoration program in the state’s history for the benefit of the region and nation.
As we remember April 20, 2010, leading national and local conservation organizations working on Mississippi River Delta and Gulf Coast restoration – Environmental Defense Fund, National Audubon Society, National Wildlife Federation, Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana and Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation – released the following statement:
“Six years after the Gulf oil disaster, our region is embarking on the largest environmental restoration program of our time. How these unprecedented funds are spent affects all of us, and we must remain vigilant to make sure decision-makers invest in the best and most powerful ecosystem restoration projects. We must ensure this funding is used effectively and for its intended purpose – to restore the Gulf Coast for the people, industries and wildlife that depend on it.
“In Louisiana, the stage is set for continued progress on restoring the coast. With science-based restoration plans in place, and now dedicated funding to help pay for them, we can make great strides toward countering our land loss crisis. In the last decade, Louisiana has already invested billions of dollars from early settlement money and other funding on restoring the coast, including improving more than 27,000 acres of coastal habitat and constructing 45 miles of barrier islands and berms.
“We applaud Governor Edwards for his recent commitments to safeguard coastal funds for coastal restoration and protection. Moving forward, we must continue to hold our leaders accountable and ensure this money is not used for anything but its intended purpose. The future of Louisiana depends on a sustainable, restored coast.
“Louisiana has made remarkable advancements since the Gulf oil disaster six years ago. We must make sure our decision makers continue to prioritize comprehensive restoration and safeguard coastal funding – we may only have this chance to get it right.”
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