BATON ROUGE, La., April 20, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Today, on the 10 year anniversary of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, the Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority (CPRA) reflects on the tragedy and the decade of coastal restoration progress that has contributed to the state's recovery.
On April 20, 2010, the Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion initiated an immense tragedy that took eleven lives and spewed over three million barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico, causing one of the largest environmental disasters in U.S. history.
"The Deepwater Horizon oil spill was an unprecedented disaster that sadly claimed the lives of 11 men ten years ago today. We will never forget them, nor their families, who have been forever impacted by this tragedy, and I am praying for all who suffered loss that day," said Gov. John Bel Edwards. "It further crippled Louisiana's already fragile coastal ecosystems, which millions relied upon for their livelihood. But through hard work and dedication we have made great advancements. The disaster has become the impetus for some of the biggest projects in our coastal master plan and an opportunity for our state to grow its restoration and water management economy. It is our hope that in the coming years Louisiana will be building more coastline than it is losing each year."
As a result of legal settlements, more than $7.29 billion will be awarded to the State of Louisiana for coastal projects through 2031, and another $1 billion for economic damages. CPRA, the lead trustee administering the Louisiana settlements, has completed nine oil spill projects to date and plans to create or benefit more than 150,000 acres of coastline using Deepwater Horizon funds.
"The oil spill reinforced our responsibility to protect our coast and has given us the resources to construct game-changing coastal restoration projects in South Louisiana that have been envisioned for decades," said CPRA Chairman Chip Kline. "For the first time in state history, our progress is able to match the scale of the problem itself."
Ultimately, the oil spill financial penalties have afforded Louisiana the opportunity to fund its innovative $50 billion Coastal Master Plan to combat coastal land loss. Since the 1930s, Louisiana has lost nearly 2,000 square miles of land. Without action, 4,000 additional square miles are predicted to disappear over the next 50 years.
"After Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, Louisiana completely restructured its approach to coastal problems through a science-based planning process to prioritize the most significant actions to protect and restore our coast," said CPRA Executive Director Bren Haase. "Having this publicly-vetted plan already in place allowed Louisiana to immediately mobilize oil spill resources to implement projects that would contribute to the greatest possible recovery and the best long-term results."
Today, settlements from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill are funding comprehensive solutions to preserve and restore Louisiana's coast for future generations.
For more information on Deepwater Horizon oil spill-funded projects, pictures, and videos, visit http://coastal.la.gov/dwh10/.
SOURCE Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority