Alabama is set to receive $93.8 million in oil spill money for coastal restoration projects in the third and largest installment to come from the Gulf Coast Restoration Trust Fund, which was established to help the U.S. Gulf coast recover from BP’s 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill.
The Deepwater Horizon Natural Resource Damage Assessment Trustees made the announcement on Friday that Alabama and the four other Gulf Coast states would soon be receiving their share of $1 billion in funds BP provided as a down payment in April 2011. Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas will share $627 million in this latest disbursement.
The trustees form a coalition of representatives from federal agencies and the five Gulf Coast states and are tasked with distributing the civil fine and penalty money collected from BP for its violations of the Clean Water Act.
BP’s Deepwater Horizon rig exploded on April 20, 2010, killing 11 workers and releasing about 5 million barrels of oil in the northern Gulf. It was the largest and deepest oil spill in U.S. history.
U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier, overseeing the sprawling oil spill litigation in New Orleans, ruled on Sept. 4 that BP made “profit-driven decisions” that amounted to “gross negligence” and caused the horrific spill. That decision opened the door to possible future Clean Water Act fines for BP as much as $18 billion.
Under the RESTORE (Resources and Ecosystems Sustainability, Tourist Opportunities, and Revived Economies of the Gulf Coast States) Act passed by Congress in 2012, 80 percent of the Clean Water Act fines will be sent to the Gulf Coast Restoration Trust Fund for projects that restore Gulf ecosystems, aid in economic recovery, and promote tourism to the Gulf.
The remaining 20 percent of the fines will go to the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund, which the federal government taps when faced with an oil disaster that requires immediate and costly cleanup.
Louisiana, the state that suffered the most damage, will receive $340 million of the $627 million being released. Most of that money will go to the Louisiana Outer Coast Restoration project. Florida will receive $105 million, Mississippi will receive $69 million, and Texas will get $18.4 million.
With its share, Alabama will allocate $85,505,305 to the Gulf State Park Enhancement Project; $5,000,080 to the Alabama Swift Tract Living Shoreline; and $3,239,485 to the Alabama Oyster Clutch Restoration project.