Billions of dollars in post-BP oil spill restoration money will soon be coming to Mississippi and the Gulf region. As MPB’s Evelina Burnett reports, an environmental group says restoration leaders should think big as they decide how to spend it.
The National Wildlife Federation’s Gulf Program Director David Muth says there could be more than $25 billion dollars coming to the gulf region in oil spill civil fines, criminal penalites and damage assessments. It’s all intended to help aid in the recovery of what Muth calls the “unfolding” effects of the spill.
"More than four years after the explosion, dolphins and sea turtles among many others are still dying in unusually high numbers," he says. "We've seen estimates that nearly a million birds died as a result of the spill."
The wildlife federation's new report lists 47 restoration projects that it says can make a lasting impact on both the environment and economy of the coast.
Jill Mastrototero, the group’s Mississippi policy specialist, says the recommended projects here include, among others, restoration of marsh land and oyster reefs.
"Bay St. Louis and Biloxi bays are historically places where oysters have thrived, and there's great opportunity to do some oyster reef restoration that would help the oyster industry, but also support the productivity and biodiversity of our coast," she says.
The report also includes recommendations for Texas, Alabama, Florida and Louisiana.