BP oil spill fund: $103M to projects in 3 Gulf states

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Alabama, Florida and Mississippi receiving more than $103 million in BP oil spill settlement funds for new and ongoing coastal projects

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“These projects, along with existing investments, continue to advance our goal of protecting and restoring species and habitats affected by the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill,” Jeff Trandhal, executive director and CEO of the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, said Thursday. “

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The 11 new projects and two extensions from the foundation’s Gulf Environmental Benefit Fund bring its total allocation to $1.6 billion in five Gulf states, a news release said.

The foundation said Alabama is receiving more than $43 million for four new projects. Florida is getting about $33 million for a new project. The remaining $27 million will support six new projects and two more continuing ones in Mississippi.

The Gulf Environmental Benefit Fund received $2.5 billion in settlement money from criminal charges against BP and its codependents. The fund is intended to repair the damage to natural resources affected by the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill and reduce the risk of future damage.

State and national agencies work to identify potential projects to ensure coordination with activities under two other programs that may have received funding from spill settlements or fines.

Three of the new projects in Alabama are designed to stabilize shoreline erosion and restore coastal marshes in Mobile County and on the north side of Dauphin Island. Previous grants included engineering, design and permitting for those projects. The fourth grant will pay for the engineering and design of beach and dune restoration at the western end of Dauphin Island.

Florida plans to use its award to acquire and manage approximately 32,000 acres (13,000 ha) of wetland and floodplain habitat in the Apalachicola watershed. Its purpose is to ensure sufficient freshwater and nutrients flow into Apalachicola Bay and the Gulf of Mexico to support oysters and marine fish.

The new Mississippi projects will expand and plan for future enhancements of artificial reefs in the Mississippi Sound and restore and protect vulnerable coastal habitats along the Mississippi Gulf Coast.

Mississippi has received about $192 million from the fund. Alabama has received about $300 million; Florida, approximately $290 million; Louisiana, $603 million; and Texas, $203 million.

About $940 million is yet to be allocated. Plea agreements for BP and the other defendants set a percentage of the total for projects in each state.

Texas has reached its limit. Louisiana, which suffered the most, would eventually receive about $1.3 billion for barrier island and river diversion projects, and Alabama, Florida and Mississippi would each receive $356 million.

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