When an oil spill occurs, natural resources like fish, birds, and marshes may be damaged or destroyed. A natural resource damage assessment (or “NRDA”) is a process focused on figuring out what those injuries are, coming up with a plan to repair those injuries, and then fixing them. This includes compensating the public for the lack of access to the resources while unusable (e.g., no recreational fishing or beach access). The NRDA process resulting from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill is managed by a group of federal and state representatives called ‘trustees.’

Deepwater Horizon Damage Assessment

In April 2016, a federal court approved a settlement among the United States, five Gulf states, and British Petroleum (BP) due to the April 2010 explosion that resulted in 11 deaths and the largest marine oil spill in the history of the petroleum industry. Under that settlement, BP agreed to pay up to $8.8 billion for natural resource damages pursuant to the Oil Pollution Act. Louisiana’s Trustee Implementation Group receives $5 billion to be used for ecosystem restoration through 2031. Of that, $4.3 billion will be used to restore and conserve habitat, while the remaining funds will be used to replenish and protect living coastal and marine resources ($343 million); for monitoring, adaptive management, and administration oversight ($258 million); to provide and enhance recreational opportunities ($60 million), and to restore water quality ($20 million).

Queen Bess Island is home to a newly thriving Brown Pelican colony after completion of the Queen Bess Island Restoration NRDA project. Photo: Erik Johnson

What is the Trustee Implementation Group?

The Louisiana Trustee Implementation Group (Louisiana TIG)—a group of federal and state representatives—currently manages the Natural Resource Restoration Program in Louisiana. When making decisions, the TIG must reach consensus, which means that both the state trustees (who must agree as a group) and the federal trustees (who must also agree as a group) must agree to the decision

Members (State):

Members (Federal):

How much does Louisiana get?

Since the spill in 2010, over $1 billion has been committed to Louisiana. There is over $3.5 billion remaining for Louisiana. $6.7 billion remaining broadly.

In 2019, the LA TIG approved several restoration projects totaling over $900 million in restoration planning and implementation funds.

Approved Projects in Louisiana include:

Learn more about restoration projects in Louisiana and other Gulf states approved by NRDA trustees here.

More information on all restoration projects here.

Members of the public can submit projects for consideration here. The TIG also seeks comments from the pubic throughout the decision making process, and you can sign up to stay up to date with that information here.

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