Feb. 14, 2013, NEW ORLEANS, La.—The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation will manage the distribution of $150 million in settlement funds from Transocean Deepwater, Inc. for Gulf Coast environmental restoration under a plea agreement accepted by a federal court judge today.
The funds are part of a settlement reached by the U.S. Department of Justice to resolve certain criminal charges against Transocean as a result of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon explosion and oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
“These funds, along with money from the recent BP settlement, will go a long way toward helping protect and preserve the natural resources of the Gulf Coast that suffered from the spill,” said Jeff Trandahl, executive director and CEO of the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation. “We intend to make sure the money is used effectively, efficiently and transparently.”
The Transocean funds will be paid over a two-year period. National Fish and Wildlife Foundation also will administer nearly $2.4 billion from a recently approved plea agreement between BP and the Justice Department. BP will pay those funds over a five-year period.
Funds from both the Transocean and BP criminal settlements will be used for natural resource restoration projects in the five Gulf States. The plea mandates that Louisiana receive half of the funds for restoration of barrier islands off the coast and river diversion projects on the Mississippi and Atchafalaya Rivers to help build critical marshlands. The remaining half of the money will be divided among Florida, Alabama, Mississippi and Texas according to a fixed formula set forth in the settlement documents.
The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, a Congressionally chartered non-profit corporation, is one of the largest private funders of conservation projects in the United States. It is subject to oversight by Congress and a board of directors that includes the heads of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), as well as representatives from states, non-governmental organizations and industry.