Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Coordination and Leveraging in Gulf Restoration

ELI Gulf Team, February 24, 2016 Now that the proposed consent decree among the United States, five Gulf states, and BP has been released, there is greater certainty about the amount of funding that will flow to the Gulf for restoration and recovery efforts. We now know that, if the settlement with BP is finalized, up to $16.67 billion will be available through the three main processes – the natural resource damage assessment process, RESTORE Act funding, and National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) grants. Of that amount, only about $1.57 billion has been obligated to projects. That means that there is much more money left to be spent.

BP Proposed Consent Decree Released

On October 5, 2015, a historic milestone was reached in Gulf restoration: the terms to settle the United States' and five Gulf states' remaining claims against BP were announced. Along with separate agreements with local government entities, these settlements total $20.8 billion.

RESTORE Council Draft Initial Funded Priorities List

On August 13, 2015, another important milestone in Gulf restoration was reached: the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council released its draft Initial Funded Priorities List (“Draft FPL”). The Draft FPL proposes approximately $139.6 million worth of projects and programs

Deepwater Horizon Settlement

On July 2, 2015, a monumental announcement was made: an agreement in principle has been reached to settle all federal and state claims against BP arising from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill for $18.732 billion.

NRDA Early Restoration Breakdown

On May 20, 2015, the Deepwater Horizon trustees released a draft plan for a fourth phase of early restoration, which proposed 10 projects costing around $134 million. With this recent announcement, now is a good time to review where the money has been spent so far and how the fourth round fits into the broader early restoration picture.

Remembrance of Tragedy, Processes for Healing: Deepwater Horizon, Five Years Later

It was five years ago today that a blowout rocked the Deepwater Horizon oil rig, leading to one of the worst oil spills in the nation’s history. 

Deepwater Horizon Litigation: Where Things Stand and What is Next

The Deepwater Horizon disaster spurred numerous lawsuits. The trial that is the subject of this blog is largely focused on Clean Water Act (CWA) civil penalties related to the oil spill.

Deepwater Horizon Project Tracking

In the Gulf of Mexico region, 89 projects to date have been finalized for restoration and recovery in the wake of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

Deepwater Horizon: Four Years Later

More than four years ago, on April 20, 2010, an explosion rocked the Deepwater Horizon mobile offshore drilling unit. Eleven crewmen lost their lives in the blast, and the rig burned for the next thirty-six hours. Then, 41 miles off the southeast coast of Louisiana, the Deepwater Horizon sank. At the wellhead, nearly a mile underwater in the Gulf of Mexico, the environmental disaster was just beginning. Oil gushed for the next three months, during which millions of barrels of oil mixed with millions of gallons of dispersant to contaminate more than 1,000 miles of coast. New pictures released in Daniel Beltrá’s book “SPILL” show some of the acute impacts on the Gulf in the month after the April 2010 explosion. The pictures are evocative, often resembling haunting impressionist paintings. The Deepwater Horizon disaster occurred nearly four years ago, and the recovery and restoration processes in the Gulf of Mexico region are ongoing. The environmental, social, and economic impacts on the region are massive and enduring. But across the country and the world, the disaster and its aftermath have largely receded from current attention. Although huge swaths of oil no longer coat the Gulf of Mexico and beaches of the Gulf coast, oil still is present four years later in some areas, and the long-term effects of the Deepwater Horizon spill will continue to be felt for years and decades to come. The Environmental Law Institute (ELI), through our publicationsworkshops, and social media outreach (FacebookTwitter), aims to shine a spotlight on the ongoing impacts and the efforts to restore injuries and recover from harm. This blog will be another tool to stay abreast of Gulf issues. Among other things, we will highlight legal developments, economic and industry news related to the restoration process, and other relevant storylines. Most of all, we aim to never forget the human story, and the environmental and economic realities faced by the people and communities that comprise the Gulf Coast. --David Roche Public Interest Law Fellow