(BP) -- BP Exploration & Production, Inc. signed a ground breaking agreement with federal and state agencies that will accelerate work starting this year to restore areas of the Gulf of Mexico that were affected by the Deepwater Horizon accident.
The agreement commits up to USD 1 bln to projects that will restore injured natural resources in the Gulf at the earliest opportunity. It allows projects important to the Gulf's recovery to begin now, as early restoration projects, rather than waiting for the Trustees to complete all of the Natural Resource Damage Assessment (NRDA) studies that are underway. The projects will undergo public review before they are funded, and priority will be assigned to projects aimed at improving areas that offer the greatest benefits to wildlife, habitat, and recreational use.
Shortly after the incident, BP began working with federal and state agencies to collect data needed to assess damages to natural resources, through the NRDA process. Over 100 cooperative studies are underway to evaluate the potential for injury to all types of wildlife and habitat in the Gulf of Mexico.
Under the expedited restoration framework made possible by this agreement, and to allow restoration to begin as quickly as possible, the Trustees will use the study data they have collected to date to identify injuries that are evident now and propose plans to restore those resources at the earliest opportunity, focusing on projects that can start in 2011 and 2012.