Gulf Coast Ecosystem Recovery Plan Set For Release

Aug 28, 2013

The federal Commerce Secretary is presiding at a meeting in New Orleans Wednesday afternoon on how to spend billions of dollars to fix damage caused by the BP oil spill. Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal will be opening the forum.

It’s the unveiling of the draft plan prepared by the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council. The panel is charged with coordinating projects in five states affected by the BP spill in 2010.

Governors of those five states are council members, along with four cabinet secretaries.

Several environmental groups are set to make presentations, along with the public. More than 41,000 comments were submitted.

Darryl Malek-Wiley of the Sierra Club will be discussing Louisiana and Texas projects. He says there’s no certainty yet about how much money BP will be paying in fines that will fund those projects.

It’s estimated the Clean Water Act fines could be several billion dollars.

“We’re glad to see that in this plan they’re talking about additional scientific evaluation as projects go through and are completed," says Malek-Wiley. "But we want to see more transparency in that whole process of evaluation.”

Malek-Wiley says the Sierra Club also wants local experts to be included in the restoration process.

The council expects to review and update the plan at least every five years.