coastal restoration

A coalition of national environmental groups says the billions of dollars expected from the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill penalties should go toward rapidly rebuilding Louisiana’s coastline.

During a teleconference Tuesday, the conservation groups outlined 19 priority projects detailed in their two new reports. David Muth, Gulf Program director for the National Wildlife Federation, says these projects are critical.

Louisiana coastal restoration officials are suing a federal agency over the cost of fixing damage blamed on a now-closed south Louisiana waterway.

The federal court lawsuit was filed Tuesday in New Orleans by the Coastal Restoration and Protection Authority. It notes that the man-made Mississippi River Gulf Outlet is widely blamed for contributing to flooding during Hurricane Katrina in 2005. It says federal law ordering the closure of the channel also requires the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to restore wetlands damaged by years of poor maintenance of the waterway.

Lane Lefort / U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack was in Norco, Louisiana on Monday to announce a new environmental initiative aimed at private landowners along the Gulf Coast.

The Department of Agriculture and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation are looking to fund conservation projects as part of the ongoing recovery from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill.

The Interior Department Inspector General says two federal agencies lack of oversight when dealing with coastal restoration grants in Louisiana.

An audit of the Coastal Impact Assistance Program outlines concerns about contract awards and other financial matters.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the state Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority are in charge of that coastal impact program. They say the audit didn't cite serious problems, but did point out areas for improvement.

Justin Stumberg / U.S. military

The US Treasury Department announced yesterday that Gulf Coast state and local governments can finally submit proposals and apply for RESTORE Act funds. This opens up grants to support communities impacted by the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill.  

Some of the $653 million in civil penalties that came out of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill are now available. 35 percent of that money will be divided equally among the five states of Florida, Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas. 20 coastal parishes in Louisiana qualify for the funds.

A state judge in Baton Rouge has ruled that Louisiana's Legislature missed its mark when it passed a bill seeking to halt a south Louisiana flood board's lawsuit against dozens of oil, gas and pipeline companies over coastal damage.

The legislation prohibits state agencies and local governments from pursuing such suits. But state District Judge Janice Clark on Monday said the Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Authority-East is neither a state agency nor a local government.

NWFblogs / Flickr

Louisiana will receive $340 million from oil giant BP for coastal restoration projects in the state.

The payout was given final approval today by BP’s trustees.

The oil company must pay for damages caused by the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill, under the rules of the Natural Resource Damage Assessment program.

Louisiana plans to use the money for “outer coast restoration,” including rebuilding barrier islands in the state.

Beach, dune, and marsh habitat creation projects are planned for four islands in the state, including Whiskey Island and Shell Island.

Francesca Lyman

The 24th Annual Society of Environmental Journalists conference took place in New Orleans last week, bringing to town a few hundred environmental reporters, advocates, scientists, engineers, politicians and more.

Participants got out of the conference rooms to see the levees, bayous, marshes, sinkholes, refineries and rivers that all contribute to the complex region that is Louisiana’s Gulf coast.

United States Coast Guard / Wikimedia Commons

With a ruling finally in on the civil action suit against BP, both sides are looking ahead to what’s next. BP plans to appeal the decision, and plaintiffs are hoping to see some more money flowing from the oil giant to coastal restoration projects.

The ballroom of a New Orleans Hilton was packed with reporters in town for the Society of Environmental Journalists conference recently.

State coastal restoration officials will be holding a public meeting September 11 in Houma to review spending plans for fines linked to the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

The Houma Courier reports projects will be funded through the Restore Council.

The money will come from criminal fines paid by Transocean, the owner of the Deeepwater Horizon drilling rig. It was working at the site of BP's Macondo well when the underwater well blew out in April 2010.

The disaster killed 11 workers and created the nation's largest offshore oil disaster.