Ocean Conservancy’s Gulf Restoration Program’s Kraft Releases Statement on $20B BP Settlement

NEW ORLEANS – Today, the U.S. Department of Justice announced the full details of a $20.8 billion settlement resolving outstanding economic and environmental claims from the BP Deepwater Horizon oil disaster.

         Also released today is an extensive, high-level restoration planning document that will guide spending of $8.1 billion to restore the natural resource damages related to the oil disaster.

         Bethany Kraft, director of Ocean Conservancy’s Gulf Restoration Program, released the following statement:

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          “While there are many details that require further review, Ocean Conservancy’s initial reaction to the consent decree and draft restoration plan is largely positive. In particular, the Trustees’ comprehensive approach to restoration is absolutely necessary given the scale and complexity of injuries to wildlife and habitats. Additionally, the Trustees have identified a restoration goal for monitoring and adaptive management, recognizing that there is still much to be learned about how best to restore injured resources. Finally, proposed restoration options include a number of projects that will reduce stressors to impacted resources, thus ensuring that the health of our environment moves restoration beyond BP to a new level of health and vitality in the Gulf.

          “We are concerned that a number of the early restoration projects to address lost recreational use are classified as open ocean projects. Given the extent of known impacts in the Gulf waters, it is imperative that every restoration dollar available is allocated to projects that actually restore impacted resources. Additionally, the proposed governance structure of the Trustee Council creates eight decision-making bodies instead of one Trustee Council. This approach also appears to decrease funding available for open ocean projects, given that all of the federal trustees’ administrative costs across the eight restoration planning areas will be coming from the open ocean allocation.

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          “For more than five years, the people of the Gulf have dealt not only with the impacts of the oil disaster but also with BP’s refusal to acknowledge how much damage they caused to the Gulf’s environment and economy. Now we can truly celebrate, as this settlement will help us achieve comprehensive, long-term restoration of the Gulf of Mexico.”

 

 

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