The Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council this week released a draft with a priority list of restoration projects to be funded by the cash obtained from a settlement with Transocean, over the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in 2010.
Using the money from the settlement with Transocean, which owned the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig that exploded in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010, the Council has said it is seeking to provide near-term, on-the-ground ecosystem benefits, while also conducting planning activities designed to build a foundation for future success as additional funds become available from other parties.
“This Draft Initial Funded Priorities List would fund approximately $139.6 million in restoration activities such as hydrologic restoration, land conservation and planning for large-scale restoration projects. In addition, the Council is reserving approximately $43.6 million for implementation of additional activities in the future, subject to further Council review,” the Council said in a statement.
According to Ocean Conservancy, the projects that will use the $183.2 million mentioned above, range from land acquisition to construction of living shorelines.
This is the first funding allocated under the RESTORE Act, which directs 80 percent of Clean Water Act civil penalties related to the BP oil disaster to the Gulf Coast for environmental and economic restoration. Pending the finalization of a separate $18.7 billion settlement with BP, the Council is expected to receive an additional $1.32 billion for ecosystem restoration across the Gulf region, Ocean Conservancy said on its website.
“This draft FPL focuses on key watersheds and estuaries across the Gulf, using foundational restoration techniques tailored to the needs of specific areas,” said Justin R. Ehrenwerth, executive director of the Council.
The Council will host a series of public meetings across the Gulf Coast to discuss the draft FPL and seek public and tribal comments.
Penny Pritzker, Chairperson of the Gulf Restoration Council said: “We look forward to hearing from the community on prioritizing the proposed $183 million investment to restore the natural ecosystem, reinvigorate economies, create jobs, and rebuild the environment for generations to come.”
The draft proposal will be available for public and tribal review and comment through Sept. 28, 2015.