BP will provide $1 billion toward early restoration projects in the Gulf of Mexico to address injuries to natural resources under an agreement with the Natural Resource Trustees for the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.
The Trustees involved are: Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, Texas, the Department of the Interior (DOI), and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The Department of Justice provided assistance in reaching the agreement.
This early restoration agreement, the largest of its kind ever reached, represents a first step toward fulfilling BP’s obligation to fund the complete restoration of injured public resources, including the loss of use of those resources by the people living, working and visiting the area. The Trustees will use the money to fund projects such as the rebuilding of coastal marshes, replenishment of damaged beaches, conservation of sensitive areas for ocean habitat for injured wildlife, and restoration of barrier islands and wetlands that provide natural protection from storms.
The agreement in no way affects the ultimate liability of BP or any other entity for natural resource damages or other liabilities, but provides an opportunity to help restoration get started sooner. The selection of early restoration projects will follow a public process, and will be overseen by the Trustees.
The full natural resource damage assessment process will continue until the Trustees have determined the full extent of damages caused by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. At the end of the damage assessment process, the Trustees will take into account any benefits that were realized from these early restoration projects. In addition to funding early restoration projects, BP will continue to fund the damage assessment and, together with the other responsible parties, will ultimately be obligated to compensate the public for the entire injury. BP is providing the early restoration funds voluntarily, and is not required to do so at this stage of the damage assessment process.
The $1 billion in early restoration projects will be selected and implemented as follows:
- Each state—Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Texas—will select and implement $100 million in projects;
- The Federal Resource Trustees, NOAA and DOI, will each select and implement $100 million in projects;
- The remaining $300 million will be used for projects selected by NOAA and DOI from proposals submitted by the State Trustees.
All projects must meet the other requirements of the Framework Agreement and be approved by the Trustee Council comprised of all the natural resource trustees.