Morris L. Berman Oil Spill Restoration Projects
On January 7, 1994, the barge Morris J. Berman, grounded upon a reef off Punta Escambrón, releasing approximately 800,000 galloons of fuel oil into coastal waters near San Juan. About one week later, a secondary release of nearly 125000 gallons of an oil/water mixture occured during and after removal operations and scuttling. The oil spread along the northern coast of Puerto Rico, injuring resources along the coastline and impairing their use for an extended time.
A settlement agreement reached among the Federal government, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, and the parties responsible for the spill, resolved claims for resources damages. The settlement includes the necessary funds for compensatory restoration projects at the San Juan National Historic Site, a unit of the National Park Service.
The preferred alternative, which was selected for implementation, is also the environmentally preferred alternative. It consists of a suite of six restoration projects chosen from a set of proposed projects based on an analysis described in the RP/EA.
The implementation of these projects will compensate the public for injuries to and lost services from the three injured resource types—reef resources, recreational beach use, and recreational use and enjoyment of historic sites—without significant environmental impacts.
NPS is the lead Trustee for the three restoration projects that address lost and diminished use of historic sites: (1) Improve and Extend the Coastal Promenade (Phase II Options 1, 2, and 3); (2) Restore El Morro Water Battery; and (3) Clean/Stabilize Exterior Walls of the Historic Site.
Walter J. Chavez, Superintendent, San Juan National Historic Site.