NFWF Announces More Than $100 Million for Restoration Projects on the Gulf Coast
Funds derived from settlement of DOJ criminal charges against BP and Transocean
WASHINGTON, D.C., Nov.14, 2013 -- The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) announced today the award of more than $100 million from its Gulf Environmental Benefit Fund (Gulf Fund) to 22 projects in the states of Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas. The projects, developed in consultation with state and federal resource agencies, are designed to remedy harm and reduce the risk of future harm to natural resources that were affected by the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill.
Today’s announcement represents the initial obligation of funds available to support projects in each state from the first payments received by the Gulf Fund.
NFWF created the Gulf Fund earlier this year as the vehicle to receive and administer funds resulting from remedial orders in the plea agreements between the U.S. Department of Justice and BP and Transocean. The plea agreements resolved certain criminal charges against both companies relating to the 2010 oil spill. Provisions within the agreements direct a total of $2.544 billion to NFWF over a five-year period to be used to support projects that remedy harm to natural resources in the Gulf States.
“This is a significant day for many Gulf communities directly affected by the oil spill, and signals the start of great things to come for restoration efforts in the Gulf of Mexico,” said Jeff Trandahl, Executive Director and CEO of NFWF. “The projects we are announcing today represent the first step in what will be a long partnership between the Gulf States, our federal agency partners and NFWF. Working together, there is much we can accomplish to remedy harm resulting from the Deepwater Horizon spill and reduce the risk of future harm to the vital natural resources of the Gulf of Mexico.”
Under the allocation formula and other provisions contained in the plea agreements, the Gulf Fund will receive a total of roughly $1.2 billion for barrier island and river diversion projects in Louisiana, in addition to roughly $356 million each for projects in the states of Alabama, Florida and Mississippi and $203 million for projects in Texas.
"We applaud NFWF’s leadership and commitment to quickly send resources where they are needed most,” U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe said. “The Gulf of Mexico is a national treasure, vital to our country’s natural and economic well-being. Restoring the Gulf and its watershed is a long-term challenge for our nation and requires a national solution. We are proud to work with NFWF and our Gulf partners to restore this critical watershed.”
"We are very pleased with the first pilot projects selected by the Board," stated Dr. Kathryn Sullivan, acting NOAA Administrator. "These projects will result in restoration that is beyond that being pursued for affected resources under the Natural Resource Damage Assessment. Collectively, these projects are a critical step forward in the holistic recovery of the Gulf of Mexico, its rich resources, and vibrant coastal communities."
As required under the plea agreements, NFWF consulted with state resource agencies, as well as with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and NOAA, to identify potential project priorities and funding needs. The discussions ensured coordination between NFWF’s Gulf Fund and the agencies’ related activities under the Natural Resource Damage Assessment (NRDA) and RESTORE programs.
The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, a congressionally chartered non-profit corporation, is one of the largest conservation funders 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. The board is appointed by the Secretary of the Interior.