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Home 2018-02-22T23:11:41+00:00

Louisiana Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill

On April 20, 2010, the Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded and subsequently sank approximately 40 miles off the coast of Louisiana. The nation will forever remember the 11 people who lost their lives that day. This disaster, which has been recognized as the largest unintentional oil spill in history, is estimated to have discharged more than 4.9 million barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico. Coastal Louisiana, the most productive ecosystem in the nation and home to nearly 40% of the nation’s wetlands, was severely affected by the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill. On April 4, 2016, the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana entered a Consent Decree resolving civil claims by the DWH Oil Spill trustees (DWH Trustees) against BP arising from the DWH Oil Spill. This historic settlement resolves the Trustees’ claims against BP for natural resources damages under OPA. Under the Consent Decree, BP agreed to pay over a 15-year period a total of $8.1 billion in natural resource damages (which includes $1 billion that BP previously committed to pay for early restoration projects), and up to an additional $700 million (some of which is in the form of accrued interest) for adaptive management or to address injuries to natural resources that are presently unknown but may come to light in the future.

News

Draft Restoration Plan and Environmental Assessment #4: Nutrient Reduction (Nonpoint Source) and Recreational Use

The Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill Louisiana Trustee Implementation Group (Louisiana TIG) has released the Draft Restoration Plan and Environmental Assessment #4: Nutrient Reduction (Nonpoint Source) and Recreational Use. This Draft Restoration Plan describes and proposes restoration project alternatives considered by the Louisiana TIG to improve water quality by reducing nutrients

Final Strategic Restoration Plan and Environmental Assessment #3: Restoration of Wetlands, Coastal, and Nearshore Habitats in the Barataria Basin, Louisiana

The LA TIG has prepared the Final SRP/EA to analyze strategic restoration alternatives associated with the restoration of wetlands, coastal, and nearshore habitat resources and services in the Barataria Basin, which was heavily impacted by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill and associated response efforts (DWH oil spill). Final Strategic Restoration

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Louisiana Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill – Natural Resource Damage Assessment 

Natural Resouce Damage Assessment Overview 

Natural Resource Damage Assessment (NRDA) is a legal process under the Oil Pollution Act of 1990 (OPA) and the Louisiana Oil Spill Prevention and Response Act of 1991 (LOSPRA) whereby designated trustees represent the public to ensure that natural resources injured in an oil spill are restored.

The OPA authorizes certain federal agencies, states and Indian tribes, collectively known as the Natural Resource Trustees (Trustees) to evaluate the impacts of an oil spill on natural resources. Trustees are charged with making the environment and the public whole for injuries to natural resources and services resulting from an incident involving a discharge of oil or substantial threat of a discharge of oil. Making the environment whole includes both restoring injured resources to the condition they would have been in but for the discharge as well as compensating for the temporal loss of natural resources, and the ecosystem services they provide, from the time of injury until the time they are fully restored.

NRDA is often a cooperative process between the trustees and the responsible parties (RPs) to assess injuries resulting from an oil spill. State and federal NRDA regulations require the Trustees to invite RPs to participate in the assessment. Cooperation can facilitate the efficient collection and sharing of reliable data while allowing all parties to conduct their own analysis and interpretation of that data.

Stages of NRDA

Preassessment Phase

The first step in the NRDA process is known as the Preassessment Phase. During this phase, the Trustees collect ephemeral data for the purpose of determining, among other things, whether injuries are occurring or are likely to occur, what resources may be injured, and whether it is appropriate to conduct a full injury assessment. This phase involves collecting information about how natural resources are exposed to the oil, what is likely to occur as a result of exposure, and over what period of time impacts are expected to occur. This phase may also include studies to document the condition of resources prior to exposure to the oil and to confirm the presence of oil.

Injury Assessment Phase

The next step in the process, which is based on the Trustees’ decision to conduct a full NRDA, is the Injury Assessment Phase. During this phase, the Trustees will implement studies to evaluate the extent, severity, and duration of impacts from the oil spill. Some of these studies may need to go on for several years to fully assess the impacts to natural resources and determine the time needed for these resources to recover.

Restoration Planning

Throughout the Preassessment and Injury Assessment, the Trustees will also consider how natural resources harmed by the spill may be restored through Restoration Planning, the final phase of the NRDA process. This phase will identify restoration actions that the Responsible Parties (“RPs”) will be required to pay for in order to fully compensate the public for the injuries to natural resources. This may be accomplished through the implementation by the RPs of specific restoration projects or by the payment of money damages to the Trustees for implementation of projects. The projects, whether performed by the RPs or the Trustees, may include direct restoration or rehabilitation of the injured resources, or replacement or acquisition of resources equivalent to those injured.

Click here to view Deepwater Horizon NRDA Data on DIVER, a source for data from Trustees and BP. Data is posted on DIVER as it becomes available.

Louisiana Trustee Implementation Group (LA TIG)

State

  • Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority
  • Louisiana Oil Spill Coordinator’s Office
  • Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality
  • Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries
  • Louisiana Department of Natural Resources

Federal

  • U.S. Department of the Interior
  • National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
  • U.S. Department of Agriculture
  • U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

Contact: latig@la.gov

The above listed are the trustees of the Louisiana Trustee Implementation Group.

FEDERAL TRUSTEES

The Department of Commerce

  • National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

The Department of the Interior

  • Fish and Wildlife Service
  • National Park Service
  • Bureau of Land Management
  • Bureau of Indian Affairs

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

U.S. Department of Agriculture

STATE TRUSTEES

Louisiana

  • Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority
  • Oil Spill Coordinator’s Office
  • Department of Environmental Quality
  • Department of Wildlife and Fisheries
  • Department of Natural Resources

Alabama

  • Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources
  • Geological Survey of Alabama

Florida

  • Florida Department of Environmental Protection
  • Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission

Mississippi

  • Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality

Texas

  • Texas Parks and Wildlife Department
  • Texas General Land Office
  • Texas Commission on Environmental Quality