DWH NRDA Restoration - Alabama TIG Draft Restoration Plan III/Environmental Assessment
The Deepwater Horizon oil spill was the largest maritime oil spill in U.S. history. It resulted in the discharge of millions of barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico. Under the Oil Pollution Act (OPA), those responsible for an oil spill incur liability to clean up the oil and to restore injured public natural resources. As a result, federal and state natural resource trustees, including the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the Department of the Interior, the Environmental Protection Agency, the US Department of Agriculture, and trustee agencies from the states of Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Texas, are leading efforts to assess and restore affected Gulf resources.
A global settlement reached on April 4, 2016 has allowed the trustees to move forward with the Programmatic Damage Assessment and Restoration Plan/Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (PDARP/PEIS). The settlement agreement includes a funding schedule that will extend through 2031. During that timeframe the trustees will provide many opportunities for public participation, such as during plan scoping and when draft restoration plans are available for public review and comment.
Consistent with the PDARP/PEIS, the Alabama Trustee Implementation Group (TIG) has prepared a draft Restoration Plan III/Environmental Assessment: Provide and Enhance Recreational Opportunities and Birds. The draft plan describes the project alternatives considered by the TIG to continue to meet the Trustees' goal of addressing injuries to birds and recreation caused by the oil spill. The TIG evaluated these alternatives under criteria set forth in the Oil Pollution Act and natural resource damage assessment regulations. The environmental consequences were evaluated in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act.
The draft plan evaluates a total of ten alternatives, seven of which are preferred. The Alabama TIG proposes to implement the preferred alternatives using approximately $26.6 million in Deepwater Horizon settlement funds in accordance with the Consent Decree.