GULF COAST, Miss.- Today marks four years since the BP oil spill was officially capped. The Gulf Coast was poisoned by what is considered the largest accidental marine oil spill in the history of the petroleum industry. Leaking into the ocean from April until September the Deepwater Horizon spill would impact the coast for years to come. Mississippi is still reaping the consequences and recovering from that disaster and its effects 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
Alex Littlejohn, Associate Director for The Nature Conservancy in Mississippi said, “We’ve got an opportunity now as one of the five gulf coast states to really restore the habitat along the coast and really enhance and benefit the community through both habitat and community based services; economy, infrastructure, restoration projects on the ground, you name it.”
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. 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. They are also cooperating with state and federal agencies to ensure the Gulf coast is protected and preserved.
The Nature Conservancy is urging anyone that wants to volunteer in one of the projects to visit: http://www.nature.org/ourinitiatives/regions/northamerica/unitedstates/mississippi/