Coastal Desk

Jesse Hardman

Most of the environmental restoration focus in Louisiana has centered around saving the disappearing wetlands around the Gulf Coast. But there’s another attempted restoration in the works, a little higher up. Local scientists affiliated with the Nature Conservancy are planning to repair water flow along the Atchafalaya River Basin.

Brown Pelicans recovering at the Fort Jackson bird rehabilitation center in the aftermath of the BP oil spill.
Jason Saul

The announcement of a settlement over BP oil spill claims means that billions of dollars could come to the state of Louisiana over the next decade. Much of that money will help fund restoration projects as part of the state’s coastal master plan.

A coalition of local non-profits are trying to help educate business owners on emergency preparedness. 

 

A recent city survey asked local business owners what kind of steps they’d taken to deal with disasters and emergencies. 50 percent said they had no written emergency plans. Around half also said they have no backup generators, and no interruption insurance in case their businesses close suddenly.

BP on Thursday announced an $18.7 billion settlement with the U.S. government, five Gulf Coast states and more than 400 local governments. The agreement comes five years after the Deepwater Horizon rig explosion spewed millions of gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico.

Eleven workers were killed in the accident.

The company says the payments, to be made over the next 18 years, "settle all state and local claims arising from the event."

Louisiana GOHSEP / Wikimedia Commons

Monday, June 8, 2015  marks the deadline to file a claim under the Deepwater Horizon Economic and Property Damages Settlement Program. The four Louisiana claims centers located in Cutoff, Lake Charles, Lafitte and Metairie will be open until midnight tonight.

Herman, Herman & Katz's Steve Herman, co-lead council for the BP trial's plaintiff's steering committee, explained what the deadline means, starting with the difference between this program and the seafood compensation program, for which the deadline to file claims has already passed.

A federal jury in New Orleans has found a former BP executive not guilty of lying to investigators about the 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Eileen Fleming reports the criminal case centered on how much oil he said was gushing from BP’s blown out well.

Paul Floro / Army Corps of Engineers

The Army Corps of Engineers held a public meeting to discuss a new project that will add fabric matting and natural grasses to the top of the levees along the lakefront. The design aims to protect from surges caused by a 100-year storm.

The Corps refers to this project as "armoring" the levees. The existing system is defined to withstand a hurricane with a 1 percent chance of occurring any given year: a "100-year storm." This armoring strategy is being put in place in case there’s an even stronger storm that breaches those levees.

Ten years ago, the U.S. experienced its busiest hurricane season ever recorded. The year saw 28 named storms — 15 of them hurricanes — including Hurricane Katrina, which devastated the Gulf Coast. Four major hurricanes hit the U.S. in 2005, beginning in July with Hurricane Dennis.

Jesse Hardman / WWNO

Making a home in Southeastern Louisiana has always meant risk of flooding. While some families in low lying coastal parishes elevated their homes in the 1990s, Hurricanes Katrina and Rita kicked off a boom of raising homes.

Now, more than 150 elevation companies operate in Orleans Parish alone, and have spent the past decade competing for billions of dollars in federal subsidies to help local homeowners elevate.   

Wikimedia Commons

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration released its Atlantic hurricane outlook during a news conference at City Hall on Wednesday. The report predicted a below-normal storm season. The 2015 forecast looks mild, but Mayor Mitch Landrieu reminded the crowd it only takes one major hurricane. And even though NOAA is generally on par with their predictions, "nobody can guarantee you what’s gonna happen," the mayor says.

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