Gulf Restoration Public Meetings Begin Next Week

The first two of a dozen public hearings to discuss proposed Early Restoration projects after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill will take place in Florida on Jan. 11 and Jan. 12.

The Deepwater Horizon Natural Resource Damage Assessment trustees have proposed eight projects to be funded from a $1 billion agreement with BP reached in April 2011, and the first two of a dozen public meetings to discuss these Early Restoration projects will take place in Florida on Jan. 11 and Jan. 12. Public input is extremely important, said Cooper Shattuck, chair of the Trustee Council Executive Committee, when this initial project list was released for comment Dec. 14, 2011.

The eight projects are marsh, oyster bed, reef, and dune restoration projects in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida; one is a $4.4 million project to build and enhance boat ramp facilities in Escambia County, Fla. The remaining public meetings will take place:

  • Jan. 17, Jan. 18, and Jan. 19 in Mississippi
  • Jan. 23 and Jan. 24 in Alabama
  • Jan. 26 in Texas
  • Jan. 31, Feb. 1, and Feb. 2 in Louisiana
  • Feb. 7 in Washington, D.C.

"This is the first step in beginning restoration of injuries caused by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill," Shattuck said. "While continuing to accept project ideas, we will move forward with additional phases of Early Restoration until the entire $1 billion is committed to Gulf Coast restoration."

The draft Phase 1 Early Restoration Plan and Environmental Assessment is available at www.gulfspillrestoration.noaa.gov; the public comment period will end Feb. 14.

The trustees include the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the U.S. Interior Department, and state agencies from each of the five states where meetings will occur.

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