Federal Natural Resource Trustees announce next step in BP Deepwater Horizon spill Gulf restoration

Feb 19, 2011

To advance the ongoing natural resource restoration planning process following the BP Deepwater Horizon spill in the Gulf of Mexico, NOAA and the Department of the Interior (DOI) today announced plans to develop a Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (PEIS) in cooperation with state co-trustees as part of the ongoing Natural Resource Damage Assessment (NRDA). The first step in the PEIS process will be public scoping meetings in each of the affected Gulf Coast states.

In a notice published in the Federal Register, NOAA, DOI, DOD, Florida, Mississippi, Alabama, Louisiana and Texas are taking the next step in the ongoing effort to restore the environment to its pre-spill condition. This comes as scientists from those agencies are conducting a comprehensive assessment of the injury to the Gulf Coast region's fish, wildlife and habitats caused by last year's oil spill. The public scoping process will evaluate a range of activities and alternatives that could restore, rehabilitate, or replace injured resources and compensate the public for the loss of human uses of those resources.

"The overall goal of this process is to hold the parties responsible for the spill fully accountable to restore, rehabilitate, replace or acquire the equivalent of natural resources and services injured by the oil spill," said Jane Lubchenco, PhD, under secretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and NOAA administrator. "The PEIS will build a framework for future restoration actions, ensuring that the public's voice is incorporated into those designs."

At these PEIS meetings, members of the public will learn about the environmental impacts of the spill, get an early picture of the region's natural resource restoration needs, and may submit comments on the types of programs and projects they would like to see incorporated in future restoration strategies in response to the oil spill. Members of the public also may submit their comments online at www.gulfspillrestoration.noaa.gov, where the full meeting schedule will be posted by the end of February.

"This is a really important time for the public to become fully engaged in the restoration planning process," said Chris Doley, director of the NOAA Restoration Center. "By sharing their views on types of restoration efforts they feel are appropriate to address resource impacts, the public can help define the overall shape of the plan that will restore the Gulf to its pre-spill conditions."

"This represents the latest step in our shared commitment to closely involve the public in the restoration of the Gulf Coast ecosystem," said Cindy Dohner, the US Fish and Wildlife Service's Southeast regional director who is serving as the Secretary of the Interior's authorized official for the Deepwater Horizon NRDA. "These natural resources make up one of the world's most diverse and complex ecosystems and are a vital part of the region's tourism economy and citizen's way of life. That's why this engagement is so important."

The comments provided during scoping will help define the parameters of a draft PEIS on which the public will again be invited to comment later this year. In addition to providing an avenue for initial comments, the scoping meetings will give the public the opportunity to learn more about various aspects of the damage assessment.

NRDA is the legal process authorized by the Oil Pollution Act of 1990 and other laws, to determine the type of environmental restoration needed to compensate the public for harm to natural resources as a result of a spill. The PEIS is part of the overall NRDA effort, whose final restoration plans will be enacted by BP and the other parties responsible for the spill with no expenditure of taxpayer funds. The NRDA process is separate from the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Task Force, announced by President Obama last October. While separate, it will work to coordinate its planning with the final NRDA Restoration Plan.

Explore further: Predicting bioavailable cadmium levels in soils

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

BP accused of trying to silence science on spill

Jul 23, 2010

The head of the American Association of Professors accused BP Friday of trying to buy the silence of scientists and academics to protect itself after the Gulf oil spill, in a BBC interview.

Gulf oil spill panel to look at root causes

Jul 09, 2010

(AP) -- The new presidential oil spill commission will focus on how safety, government oversight and the ability to clean up spills haven't kept up with advances in drilling technology, the panel's leaders say.

Recommended for you

Predicting bioavailable cadmium levels in soils

17 hours ago

New Zealand's pastoral landscapes are some of the loveliest in the world, but they also contain a hidden threat. Many of the country's pasture soils have become enriched in cadmium. Grasses take up this toxic heavy metal, ...

Oil drilling possible 'trigger' for deadly Italy quakes

21 hours ago

Italy's Emilia-Romagna region on Tuesday suspended new drilling as it published a report that warned that hydrocarbon exploitation may have acted as a "trigger" in twin earthquakes that killed 26 people in ...

Snow is largely a no-show for Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race

21 hours ago

On March 1, 65 mushers and their teams of dogs left Anchorage, Alaska, on a quest to win the Iditarod—a race covering 1,000 miles of mountain ranges, frozen rivers, dense forest, tundra and coastline. According ...

UN weather agency warns of 'El Nino' this year

22 hours ago

The UN weather agency Tuesday warned there was a good chance of an "El Nino" climate phenomenon in the Pacific Ocean this year, bringing droughts and heavy rainfall to the rest of the world.

Study shows less snowpack will harm ecosystem

22 hours ago

(Phys.org) —A new study by CAS Professor of Biology Pamela Templer shows that milder winters can have a negative impact both on trees and on the water quality of nearby aquatic ecosystems, far into the warm growing season.

User comments : 0

More news stories

Warm US West, cold East: A 4,000-year pattern

Last winter's curvy jet stream pattern brought mild temperatures to western North America and harsh cold to the East. A University of Utah-led study shows that pattern became more pronounced 4,000 years ago, ...

UN weather agency warns of 'El Nino' this year

The UN weather agency Tuesday warned there was a good chance of an "El Nino" climate phenomenon in the Pacific Ocean this year, bringing droughts and heavy rainfall to the rest of the world.

Making 'bucky-balls' in spin-out's sights

(Phys.org) —A new Oxford spin-out firm is targeting the difficult challenge of manufacturing fullerenes, known as 'bucky-balls' because of their spherical shape, a type of carbon nanomaterial which, like ...