Formal Restoration Planning Process Begins for BP/Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill
The State of Louisiana, along with the other State and Federal co-trustees for natural resources affected by the BP/Deepwater Horizon oil spill, has announced the issuance of the Notice of Intent to Conduct Restoration Planning. This Notice indicates that the trustees for Louisiana's natural resources have begun the restoration planning phase of the Natural Resource Damage Assessment (NRDA). NRDA is a legal process established under the federal Oil Pollution Act and the State Oil Spill Prevention and Response Act to determine the type and amount of restoration-type activities required to compensate for injury to natural resources and loss of use those resources while they were injured. The Louisiana Trustees initiated restoration planning after collecting data indentifying and documenting impacts to Louisiana's natural resources as a result of the oil spill. Pre-assessment data that have been collected, analyzed and quality-checked, are available to the public on the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) oil spill science missions and data http://www.noaa.gov/sciencemissions/bpoilspill.html
Because the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill significantly damaged Louisiana's coastal resources, Louisiana anticipates that coastal restoration projects in Louisiana will represent a significant portion of the overall Gulf-wide restoration plan. In choosing appropriate restoration projects, the trustees will select projects in part based on their compatibility with Louisiana's Comprehensive Master Plan for a Sustainable Coast, a document developed by the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority (CPRA) to guide ongoing coastal protection and restoration efforts in coastal Louisiana. The public will continue to have numerous opportunities to participate in the restoration planning selection process through CPRA meetings and other venues.
"Louisiana's coastal marshes and wildlife have been significantly impacted by the Deepwater Horizon spill. Our natural resources are critically important to the people of Louisiana both economically and culturally. We must ensure that the responsible companies fully restore and replace the valuable habitats provided by our coastal area." said Garret Graves, Chairman of the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority and lead NRDA trustee for the State of Louisiana.
According to the trustees, the full extent of potential injuries may not be known for some time. As of mid-August, however, they have documented oil on at least 950 miles of Louisiana's shoreline, including salt marshes, sandy beaches, mudflats and mangroves. The trustees have captured at least 1,900 oiled birds and 400 oiled sea turtles. They have also collected more than 1,850 visibly oiled dead birds, 17 visibly oiled dead sea turtles and five visibly oiled dead marine mammals. These numbers are anticipated to increase significantly as injuries are assessed in more detail.