Lessons from the Gulf: Ten Years After the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill
The 2010 BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico was the largest single environmental disaster in U.S. history. In 2016, an unprecedented settlement agreement was reached between the federal government, the Gulf states, and BP that guaranteed more than $16 billion over a 15 year period to restoring the Gulf. Pursuant to that settlement and to legislation enacted by Congress in 2012, new mechanisms were created and funded to accomplish Gulf restoration including the state/federal Gulf of Mexico Ecosystems Restoration Council (RESTORE Council), the Gulf Environmental Benefit Fund administered by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, the Gulf Research Program at the National Academies of Science, and a series of Trustee Implementation Groups to allocate Natural Resource Damage funding. Now, on this tenth anniversary year of the spill, working with state and federal agencies and non-profit organizations, those mechanisms have supported a wide range of tangible on-the-ground/in-the-water restoration projects. Also underway is important monitoring and research on the Gulf ecosystem and on the effectiveness of strategies for improving the condition of the Gulf and the communities that depend on its resources. This workshop will engage a high level panel of Gulf restoration leaders who will review the progress and challenges of Gulf restoration so far, and draw lessons from that experience that are relevant to coastal restoration across the U.S. and in other countries. Specific areas of concern will include: working across political and jurisdictional boundaries to address the problems of a very large ecosystem; what kind of science is needed to inform protection and restoration; how good restoration projects can be selected, designed, and implemented quickly; how state governments can most effectively administer new funding and pool resources to accomplish large scale projects; the impact of certain funding over a long period of time on ecosystem restoration; the role of the non-profit and foundation sector in restoration; and how lower income people and disadvantaged communities can participate in restoration. To accomplish this, our panel includes the Executive Director of the RESTORE Council, the Executive Director of the Gulf Science Program, the Director of State Lands for the State of Alabama, the Director of the Gulf Environmental Benefit Fund for Texas and Louisiana, and the Director of the Nature Conservancy's Gulf of Mexico Program.
Disaster Planning, Response, Recovery, and Resilience