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Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill

Texas Implementation Group Calls for Restoration Project Proposals

The Texas Implementation Group (TIG) is preparing for the next phase of restoration planning, which will ultimately result in the release of a draft restoration plan and associated National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) documents for public review and comment. TIG is calling for new or revised restoration proposals by August 31, 2016.

Approximately $47.6 million is currently available for restoration project funding in Texas this year. Over the next 15 years, the Texas TIG will receive approximately $124.8 million in additional restoration funding. The current restoration planning effort may utilize all or part of these funds. The Texas TIG may propose both discrete restoration projects as well as one or more programmatic restoration efforts. Each of the projects and programmatic efforts may require multiple years to complete and they may be funded in part by restoration funds received in the future.

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Restoration funds allocated to the Texas TIG must be used for five specific restoration types. Deepwater Horizon Early Restoration projects that are already being funded, the Texas Rookery Islands Project and the Sea Turtle Early Restoration Project, fall under two of the restoration types identified for Texas. Therefore, the Texas TIG is prioritizing current restoration planning efforts on restoration types that were not addressed previously by Early Restoration: 1) restore and conserve wetland, coastal, and nearshore habitats; 2) restore water quality through nutrient reduction (nonpoint source); and 3) replenish and protect oysters. The Texas TIG will also consider projects for engineering and design that focus on the three restoration types mentioned above.

Despite the focus on these restoration categories, the Texas TIG will continue to consider any important opportunities for additional restoration and protection of avian resources and sea turtles. In developing a Restoration Plan, the Texas TIG will consider projects already proposed, those proposed in response to this request, and those that come to the attention of the Trustees through other means prior to August 31, 2016. The Texas TIG may also develop restoration projects for consideration.

The Trustees have accepted project proposals on a continuous basis throughout the process of Early Restoration. The Texas TIG will continue to consider projects already submitted through the NOAA Gulf Spill Restoration website or Restore the Texas Coast website. You may revise or update a previously submitted project, or you may submit a new project idea through one of the websites below. These suggested projects will be retained as part of a database that will be evaluated by the Texas TIG, with public input, for consideration in project-specific restoration plans.

Please submit your proposal by August 31, 2016 in order to be considered by the Texas TIG for the draft restoration plan expected to be released in spring 2017. If you have any questions or need further assistance, please contact us.

Additional Background

A federal district court in New Orleans entered a consent decree resolving civil claims against BP arising from the April 20, 2010 Macondo well blowout and the massive oil spill that followed in the Gulf of Mexico.

Under this settlement, BP has agreed to pay the Trustees for Deepwater Horizon Natural Resource Damage Assessment up to $8.8 billion for restoration to address natural resource injuries. The chart and table below show the restoration funding allocated to the Texas Restoration Area for each restoration goal. Note that some restoration categories have been fully addressed in Early Restoration; the remaining restoration funds will be allocated over the next 15 years. For more information on the allocation of funds, please visit the Department of Justice Deepwater Horizon page (https://www.justice.gov/enrd/deepwater-horizon).

Texas Allocation of Restoration Funds

Texas TIG Funding Table

The Trustees finalized the Programmatic Damage Assessment and Restoration Plan and Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (PDARP/PEIS) in February 2016. The plan identifies the types of restoration needed to compensate the public for impacts to natural resources that resulted from the oil spill. Restoration plan and impact statement documents, including the record of decision, can be found at http://www.gulfspillrestoration.noaa.gov/restoration-planning/gulf-plan/.

To manage restoration activities identified as part of the settlement, a Trustee Implementation Group (TIG) was assigned for each of seven restoration areas (restoration in each of the five Gulf States, the Open Ocean, and Region-wide). The Texas TIG includes representatives of each state Natural Resource Trustee agency, including the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD), the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ), and the Texas General Land Office (GLO) along with our federal partners, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and the U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI).

A Final Settlement...

The Deepwater Horizon oil spill Natural Resource Damage Assessment Trustees (Trustees) have accepted a settlement to resolve BP’s liability for natural resource injuries from the spill. Under this settlement, BP will pay up to $8.8 billion for restoration over 15 years, including $238 million for Texas restoration efforts, which includes approximately $49 already received as part of early restoration. This includes work to restore wetlands and other coastal habitats, reduce nonpoint source pollution, and restore coastal and marine resources injured by the spill, such as oysters, birds, and sea turtles. Restoration work in Texas will also be conducted via region-wide planning in coordination with the other Trustees. Texas will also be involved in region-wide projects, and will consult with the federal Trustees on open-ocean projects.

Moving Forward…

After carefully considering comments provided by the public and implementing relevant revisions, the Trustees have finalized the Programmatic Damage Assessment and Restoration Plan and Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (The Plan). The Plan provides guidance for identifying, evaluating, and selecting future restoration projects.

The Plan identifies five goals intended to restore wildlife, habitat, water quality, and recreational activities in the Gulf. To achieve these goals, funds are allocated to 13 different restoration types. The restoration types address a broad range of impacts at both regional and local scales. The implementation of The Plan will restore wildlife and habitat and associated services such as recreational opportunities that were impacted by the spill.

The Plan does not identify specific projects for each restoration type, but lays out a framework by which future project-specific restoration plans will be developed. The public will have the opportunity to comment on these subsequent restoration plans. The figure below identifies the 5 restoration goals and 13 restoration types.

 

Chart showing how restoration types relate to overall goals

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