Natural Resource Damage Assessment Process Moves Forward

Last week, Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell announced that the Deepwater Horizon Natural Resource Damage Assessment (NRDA) Trustees have released their draft Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (PEIS) and their draft Restoration Plan for Phase III of early NRDA restoration projects. These projects, which were first announced April 30, will be funded through the $1 billion early NRDA funds that BP agreed to invest in restoration of damaged natural resources resulting from the 2010 Gulf oil disaster.

Steve Bender, director of Vanishing Paradise, a coalition of some 800 hunting and fishing businesses and organizations advocating for restoration of the Mississippi River Delta, issued this statement today:

“This announcement signifies progress toward restoration of critical fish and wildlife habitat around the Mississippi River Delta, an area that was ground zero during the oil spill. These early restoration projects can help revive the Gulf’s struggling natural resources, including areas that make the region so important to hunters and anglers. We encourage the NRDA trustees, BP and stakeholders to continue working together to move forward on restoration.

“The trustees’ commitment to funding environmental projects in Louisiana, including nearly $320 million proposed for barrier island restoration, is an exciting advancement toward restoring the Mississippi River Delta. Not only do barrier islands provide critical storm protection and a first line of defense for coastal communities, they also provide habitat for fish and waterfowl. These funds will help rebuild four barrier islands, including the Breton Island National Wildlife Refuge, which was hit hard by the oil spill.

“We look forward to reviewing the draft PEIS and to working with the NRDA Trustees during the public comment period and the implementation stage to complete these vital restoration efforts. The Gulf Coast and Mississippi River Delta have waited long enough for restoration, and these early projects are a key step toward recovering an area that’s a key component in our American sporting heritage.”

Logo courtesy Vanishing Paradise

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