By July 3, 2015 Read More →

BP Gulf settlement: Texas share is $750 million

Settlement funds will be used to support Texas’ Gulf Restoration plan

Texas will receive more than $750 million as part of the $20.2 billion settlement with BP Exploration and Production Inc. and the governor says all of it will go to Gulf economy, environment rehabilitation.

Gulf

Texas Governor Greg Abbott.

“After five years, I’m proud to announce that Texas, along with the other Gulf States, has reached an agreement in principle with BP to resolve all the states’ claims,” said Gov. Greg Abbott in a release.

“This settlement will allow Texas to reinvest in the Gulf community and reinvigorate the economic and environmental health of the region.”

The Environmental Defense Fund praised the work of federal and state leaders for the timely resolution with BP. In a statement representing seven organizations, the EDF said that in sharp contrast to the “decades-long litigation following the Exxon Valdez spill” in 1989, politicians wasted no time in closing this case.

“Their swift work means meaningful restoration efforts are imminent. Their leadership, at this moment, is invaluable,” the statement said.

The EDF urged leaders like Gov. Abbott to put the settlement money to work immediately.

“We need our leaders to make sure that every dime of this settlement is used as it is intended: to address oil spill impacts and repair long-standing ecosystem damage,” the EDF said.

“We cannot afford to wait any longer. The Gulf ecosystem is the backbone of the local economy and our primary defense from storms during hurricane season.

The EDF says new scientific research paints a bleak picture of the devastation wrought by the April 2010 blowout of BP’s Macondo well.

A 2014 study found evidence of a 1,250-square-mile area of oil contamination on the ocean floor around the Macondo wellhead in deep Gulf sediments.

A previous NOAA study found a large number of dead dolphins in heavily oiled places, including Barataria Bay, La. A team of scientists discovered that dead bottlenose dolphins stranded in the northern Gulf of Mexico since the start of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill have lung and adrenal lesions consistent with petroleum product exposure.

“These studies have increasingly pointed to the presence of petroleum hydrocarbons as being the most significant cause of the illnesses and deaths plaguing the Gulf’s dolphin population,” said Teri Rowles, Ph.D., head of NOAA’s Marine Mammal Health and Stranding Response Program.

Recent studies estimate an unprecedented number of birds (upwards of 1 million) died as a result of being exposed to BP oil. According to scientists, 36 per cent of the entire Laughing Gull population in the northern Gulf of Mexico died, 15 per cent of Royal Terns and 12 per cent of Brown Pelicans.

A 2014 study found concentrations of PAH (polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon) – which can cause harmful effects in many birds, fish and wildlife – in Barataria and Terrebonne marshes, which may persist for decades.

A 2012 study found that oiled marshes in Barataria Bay eroded at double the rate of non-oiled marshes.

According to Gov. Abbott, the settlement includes $5.5 billion in Clean Water Act penalties, which will fund projects in the Gulf-Wide RESTORE Act plan, including activities in the Texas Gulf Restoration plan.

An additional $8.8 billion was awarded  in Natural Resource Damages under the federal Oil Pollution Act and $4.9 billion in economic damages to the Gulf States.

The Clean Water Act penalties and the Natural Resource Damages penalties will be a 15 year payout starting in 2017.

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