Deepwater Horizon Natural Resource Damage Assessment (NRDA) Early Restoration
Natural Resource Damage Assessment (NRDA) is a legal process whereby trustees represent the public interest to ensure that natural resources injured in an oil spill are restored. The trustees assess the injuries to our natural resources from a spill, develop restoration plan(s) and implement those plans in order to compensate the public for the injuries incurred.
Making the environment and public whole includes both restoring injured resources to the condition they would have been in had the spill not occurred as well as compensating for the temporal loss of natural resources, and the ecosystem services they provide, from the time of injury until the time they are fully restored.
Typically, in the NRDA process, the trustees will develop a restoration plan or series of plans to compensate for those injuries after the injuries are assessed and the scope and scale of those injuries is determined. However, plans for early restoration projects may be developed prior to the completion of the injury assessment, when opportunities arise, to achieve restoration faster.
On April 21, 2011, the Deepwater Horizon Natural Resource Damage Assessment (NRDA) trustees reached an agreement whereby BP committed $1 billion to fund early restoration projects. These funds will be divided among the trustees pursuant to the early restoration allocation agreement. $500 million will be split equally among the Gulf State Trustees (Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Florida and Texas); $200 million will be split equally among the Federal Trustees (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the Department of Interior); and $300 million will be used to fund state sponsored restoration projects based upon impacts. Louisiana first made the request for BP to fund early restoration in July 2010 and laid the groundwork for this negotiation.
The State of Louisiana is currently engaged in the process of selecting potential early restoration projects, as are other impacted state and federal trustees.
For the past year, Louisiana has worked with coastal stakeholders through a variety of public outreach and coordination efforts to build a master list of potential projects for both early and long-term restoration of the State's natural resources that were injured by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.
Through the combination of a concerted stakeholder and public outreach effort and the State's Regional Restoration Planning Program, Louisiana has compiled a list of over 300 restoration project candidates. These projects reflect the ideas and input of a variety of coastal stakeholders. Click HERE to view the current master list.
Louisiana continues to accept restoration project submittals. Project proposals may be submitted online at http://losco-dwh.com/.
Projects received through June 25, 2011 will be analyzed by the State's natural resource trustees for potential inclusion in an early restoration plan. Projects submitted after this date and those not selected for the initial phase of early restoration planning will be considered for future stages of both early and long-term restoration.
The State of Louisiana remains committed to outreach and engagement efforts and will continue in those efforts throughout the NRDA process. In addition to our regularly scheduled monthly coastal stakeholders meetings, we will also hold a public meeting to solicit early restoration projects on June 20, 2011 from 5:30 to 8:30 pm in Room 110 in Weinmann Hall at Tulane University School of Law.