The Recovery Process Has Just Begun
Laura Huffman, Texas State Director, The Nature Conservancy
(Washington, DC, Friday, September 19, 2014) – Four years ago, on September 19, 2010 the Deepwater Horizon well was officially capped. The moment marked a turning point for people on the Gulf who had spent the previous five months living through yet another disaster on their shores. The moment allowed people to look forward to the start of a recovery process that is only now just beginning, four years later.
On August 21, 2014, the window for members of the Restore Council to submit restoration projects officially opened. That window is open now and will remain open through November 17. Approximately $150-$180 million from the settlement with Transocean Deepwater Inc. and related entities will be available to fund a range of projects and programs.
What projects and programs those are have yet to be determined, but the process that governs this pot of money will go a long way toward determining how the large BP fines are distributed, and those fines are likely to be significant – on September 4 BP was found to be grossly negligent in the BP disaster.
This is an important time for the Gulf restoration process, and also a confusing one. The Nature Conservancy is implementing on-the-ground restoration projects that protect shorelines from erosion, filter water, provide habitat for fish, and create jobs. Our staff is also cooperating with state and federal agencies to ensure the Gulf coast is protected and preserved.