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Important contacts:
  • Texas media inquiries: Tom Harvey, (512) 389-4453
  • Texas Trustee inquiries email

Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill

Draft Phase III Early Restoration Plan

Draft Programmatic Early Restoration Plan and Environmental Impact Statement

The Deepwater Horizon oil spill Trustees have released a draft plan that proposes $627 million in early restoration projects across the Gulf states. The proposal includes the first Texas early restoration projects, five projects totaling about $18.4 million. This plan marks the third and largest phase of early restoration to date. Included in the draft are 44 proposed projects. The draft also proposes a programmatic plan and Environmental Impact Statement that evaluates a range of broad Early Restoration alternatives.

Texas project proposals include beach redevelopment at Galveston Island State Park, new amenities at Sea Rim State Park, and the creation or enhancement of three offshore artificial reefs. The reef projects would enhance artificial reef sites in Texas state waters by expanding a reef site off Freeport and creating a new reef site off Matagorda. In addition, a new reef would be created outside state waters by sinking a cleaned vessel offshore of Galveston. In the event the ship reef project becomes technically infeasible (for example, if an appropriate ship cannot be acquired with available funding), an artificial reef site off Corpus Christi will be expanded. All five projects are intended to compensate for lost recreational use of natural resources.

View of Texas coast showing locations of proposed restoration projects

Public libraries in Texas that have copies of the draft for public review:

Draft Phase III DERP/PEIS and supporting documents available for download:

Early Restoration

State and federal natural resource Trustees are in the process of assessing and quantifying injuries caused by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill to natural resources and services provided by those resources. When a spill occurs and the Natural Resource Damage Assessment (NRDA) process starts, early restoration is a way to get natural resources back to baseline conditions faster. Early restoration can begin while the NRDA process is still under way, which is important because NRDAs are complex and can last many years.

The Deepwater Horizon oil spill is the largest NRDA in U.S. history, impacting all five states on the Gulf of Mexico. Under the early restoration agreement signed by BP (a responsible party) and the Trustees, BP has committed to provide $1 billion toward implementation of early restoration projects. The broad scope of the impacts to natural resources has resulted in a complex negotiation process for the identification and selection of early restoration projects. The purpose is to begin restoring the Gulf of Mexico and to compensate for natural resource injuries, including the loss of human use of Gulf resources, from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. To date, two Phases of Early Restoration have been implemented, which included ten restoration projects outside of Texas with a total cost of approximately $71 million.

Early restoration projects represent an initial step toward fulfilling the responsible parties’ obligation to pay for restoration of injured natural resources. Ultimately, the responsible parties are obligated to compensate the public for the full scope of natural resource injuries caused by the spill, including the cost of assessment and restoration planning.

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