Energy & Environment

With BP Oil Spill Money Coming, Conservation Group Recommends Coastal Projects

The projects would expand protected lands, improve the health of estuaries.


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A view of the response to the Deepwater Horizon blowout in 2010.

A national conservation group has ideas for how Texas should use money from the BP oil spill settlement. Large sums of the settlement begin flowing to Texas this month.

The National Wildlife Federation is recommending 12 environmental restoration projects across the Texas coast from near Victoria to the Houston-Galveston area.

The projects range from expanding or purchasing new protected lands to improving the health of rivers where they meet the sea. The group says while the Deepwater Horizon disaster can't be undone, the settlement money can be a step toward recovery.

"We have an opportunity for our children and grandchildren to use the fines from this horrific disaster to do what we can to improve the health of the Gulf of Mexico,” says David Muth, the group’s Gulf Program Director.

The Texas General Land Office has its own ideas for environmental projects. It plans to ask state lawmakers for $30 million from the settlement for a new coastal resiliency plan, but the wildlife federation says those projects are "complimentary,” not competitors.

Ultimately, the group's recommendations are just recommendations. According to the General Land Office, the oil spill money will be paid into the state's general fund in the coming years, something state lawmakers have control over.

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