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Public meetings set on Gulf restoration plan

The Deepwater Horizon Natural Resource Damage Assessment Trustees recently released the Deepwater Horizon Draft Phase I Early Restoration Plan & Environmental Assessment for formal public comment.

It is the first in an anticipated series of plans to begin the restoration of the Gulf of Mexico to compensate for natural resource injuries, including the loss of human use of Gulf resources, from the oil spill.

The assessment describes the initial projects proposed to receive funding from the $1 billion early restoration agreement that the trustees and BP announced in April. The trustees will hold 12 public meetings in January and February throughout Gulf Coast communities and in Washington, D.C., to solicit formal public comment on the assessment.

“Public feedback is of the utmost importance, and we encourage people to submit comments and attend the upcoming public meetings,” Trustee Council Executive Committee chairman Cooper Shattuck said in a statement. “This is the first step in beginning restoration of injuries caused by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. While continuing to accept project ideas we will move forward with additional phases of early restoration until the entire $1 billion is committed to Gulf Coast restoration.”

The assessment describes eight proposed projects for the initial round of early restoration, two each in Alabama, Florida, Louisiana and Mississippi.

The proposed projects include shoreline marsh creation, coastal dune habitat restoration, near-shore artificial reef creation, oyster cultch restoration and construction of boat ramp facilities. The total estimated cost of the proposed initial suite of projects is more than $57 million.

The following public meetings are scheduled for early 2012 (additional details will be made public as they become available):

• Florida: Jan. 11-12

• Mississippi: Jan. 17-19

• Alabama: Jan. 23- 24

• Texas: Jan. 26

• Louisiana: Jan. 31-Feb. 2

• Washington, D.C.: Feb. 7

Click here for the full release.

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