Mississippi plans to use $13.6 million from BP to begin two restoration projects in the Gulf of Mexico following the 2010 BP/Deepwater Horizon oil spill, Gov. Phil Bryant announced today.
The money is part of $100 million the company directed to Mississippi for early restoration projects. The two projects will restore oyster reefs and construct and rehabilitate artificial reefs in the Mississippi Sound.
"These funds focus on marine resources, which are a vital part of the economic engine that drives the coastal economy," Gov. Bryant said.
As executive director of Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality and trustee of Mississippi's Natural Resource Damage Assessment, Trudy Fisher is leading the two projects.
"Both the Governor and I are intent on maximizing the use of local expertise in implementing these and other projects," Fisher said. "We have scores of businesses and individuals on the Mississippi Gulf Coast who can bring talent and energy to these and other restoration projects. I urge all interested parties to be alert to the upcoming announcement of how to become involved in the work on the coast."
Bryant said the health and the sustainably of the Gulf are vital links to a strong economy and the livelihood of coastal residents. "On behalf of the state of Mississippi, I will vigorously pursue every avenue available for recovery, and the state will move swiftly and aggressively to restore our natural resources.
"Our intent is to spend every single dollar of early restoration funding on projects that benefit the Gulf, local businesses and the individuals who make their living there."
Bryant says he and other Mississippi officials will continue to push for more early restoration projects, keeping in mind that early restoration is just the first step in recovery.
"While it is important to move quickly, it is equally important to be thorough and to rely on science and public input to guide early restoration decisions," Bryant said. "The public have been and will continue to be our biggest allies in the recovery from this disaster. Gulf Coast residents are skilled survivors who continue to show great resilience in recovering from natural disasters. This man-made disaster will be no different."