coastal restoration

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.

The future of the levee board lawsuit aimed at the oil and gas industry could be determined on Thursday.

The committee that nominates members for the south Louisiana flood control authority has two vacancies to fill.

The people it nominates could provide Governor Bobby Jindal with the votes he needs to kill a lawsuit against dozens of oil, gas and pipeline companies.

At today’s meeting, the nominating committee is expected to consider applicants to fill the expired term of Paul Kemp on the Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Authority-East.

Jesse Hardman / WWNO

A big part of Louisiana’s coastal Master Plan centers around something called “diversions.” Fresh water from the Mississippi River is diverted so that the water, and the silt it carries, can rebuild the sinking coast. But this technique, a centerpiece of Louisiana's coastal Master Plan, is contentious.

Eve Troeh / WWNO

Those who have been lucky enough to travel to the Wax Lake Delta are prone to gush about it. Just ask Ben Weber, who leads trips to the area as an outreach coordinator for the National Wildlife Federation.

From above one can see how the lush, green Delta has spread out into the Gulf over time, a bit of an outlier in a region now more used to seeing coastal land retreat due to sea level rise and erosion.

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