BP gives Gulf states $1 billion for restoration, Florida to get $100 millionby Dara Kam | April 21st, 2011
The day after the first anniversary of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion, British Petroleum announced it is giving $1 billion to the five Gulf Coast states – Louisiana, Texas, Alabama, Mississippi and Florida – and federal agencies for early restoration efforts.
Florida will get $100 million to spend on environmental projects related to damages caused by the oil spill.
The $1 billion will fund projects including rebuilding of coastal marshes, beach replenishment, ocean conservation and restoration of barrier islands and wetlands that provide natural protection from storms, according to a press release issued by the National Resource Trustees for the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, a coalition of state and federal agencies.
“One year after the largest oil spill in our history, we take a major step forward in the recovery of the Gulf of Mexico, for the environment and the people who depend on it for their livelihood and enjoyment. Today’s agreement is a down payment on our promise to protect and restore the Gulf,” said Jane Lubchenco, Ph.D., under secretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and NOAA administrator.
Each of the states, including Florida, will receive $100 million to spend on projects. NOAA and the Department of the Interior will each get $100 million. And the remaining $300 million will given to state proposals selected by the trustees.
Although Florida Panhandle beaches and waters are clean, submerged tar mats remain just offshore in Escambia County. The county’s chief scientist told Gov. Rick Scott and others during a promotional tour of the area yesterday that the mats have got to go.
Local officials have tried for months to get BP and federal officials to clean up the tar mats, fearing a storm could cause tar to wash up on shore and scare away visitors just as Northwest Florida is bouncing back from a dismal tourist season last year in the aftermath of the disaster.