In accordance with OPA 90 and related legislation, the federal and state Trustee agencies have today published a so-called Record of Decision ("ROD") for the Final Programmatic Damage Assessment and Restoration Plan ("FPDARP") and Final Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement ("FPEIS") for the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. (81 Fed. Reg. 17438). The ROD was formally approved by the Trustees on March 22, 2016. The federal Trustee agencies include the DOI/FWS, NOAA, the EPA and the USDA. The state agencies include those from Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida.
The ROD sets forth the basis for the Trustees' selection of a "comprehensive integrated ecosystem restoration alternative" to address the extensive injuries they found to various natural resources and geographic areas affected by the spill, primarily in the northern Gulf of Mexico. Stated goals and types of restoration include wetlands; coastal and near shore habitats; water quality via nutrient reduction; replenish fish, water column invertebrates, aquatic vegetation, oysters, sea turtles, marine mammals, birds and benthic communities; enhance recreational opportunities; and to provide for monitoring, "adaptive management" and administrative oversight. The ROD builds upon years of scientific testing, resource surveys and data assimilation, with inputs from hundreds of stakeholders across the entire Gulf of Mexico.
This alternative was selected after considering three other alternatives: a resource specific restoration plan, deferment of restoration plan development at this time, or a natural recovery/no action alternative. The natural restoration/no action alternative is considered in every case, but is rarely selected. Deferment had been advocated by some interested parties to allow further assessment of the injuries and natural resource damages, some of which take years to identify.
The Trustees will implement this selected alternative in seven restoration areas - one for each of the five Gulf coastal states, "Open Ocean" and "Region-wide," plus for "Unknown Conditions and Adaptive Management."
The total restoration funding is $8.1 billion, plus $700,000 for unknown conditions and adaptive management, funds that are expected to be collected from BP, the primary responsible party as part of an overall settlment. The breakdown in round numbers is about $350 million for Region-wide, $1.24 billion for Open Ocean, $296 million for Alabama, $680 million for Florida, $5 billion for Louisiana, $295 million for Mississippi and $238 million for Texas.
More detailed information about the ROD, the FPDARP and the FPEIS can be accessed at NOAA's web site.