Nearly $100 million proposed for Gulf Coast restoration

May 3, 2021

 

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A trustee group is proposing nearly $100 million to revitalize the Gulf Coast.

The Deepwater Horizon oil drilling rig exploded 11 years ago last week. It was the largest oil spill in the history of marine oil drilling.  

A draft restoration plan drawn up by the Deepwater Horizon Regionwide Trustee Implementation Group.   

Christopher Blankenship is the Commissioner of the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.  He said putting together the plan took a lot of collaboration. 

“This restoration plan has been in the works for the last couple of years, working with all five Gulf States, National Marine Fishery Service, and the Department of the Interior, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the Environmental Protection Agency. All of us collaborated on the projects that are in this draft restoration plan,“ he said. 

Funding for the region-wide restoration projects comes from settlements paid by the companies found responsible for the Deepwater Horizon spill.  

Blankenship said that oyster and bird populations are important for Alabama ecosystems.  

“A majority of the money included in the settlement was to be used for birds and oysters. And both of those restoration types are very important for us here in Alabama," he said. "The oysters filter the water. With birds, Dauphin Island, Fort Morgan peninsula, those areas are integral to the bird migration patterns.”  

The Deepwater Horizon oil drilling rig exploded 11 years ago. It was the largest oil spill in the history of marine oil drilling. Around 4 million barrels of oil were dumped into the Gulf Coast over 87 days.