Texas Releases Plan To Use BP Oil Spill Money For Harvey Recovery

The state wants to spend more than $31 million on economic and ecological restoration efforts.

The McFaddin National Wildlife Refuge in Jefferson County, TX is seen submerged by Hurricane Harvey’s floodwaters in September 2017.

Texas has released a plan for how it wants to use some settlement money from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill on Hurricane Harvey recovery.

The plan, not yet finalized, calls for spending more than $31 million along the Gulf Coast to revitalize tourism, clean up bayous and streams, restore shorelines and beaches, and improve water quality.

It outlines $7.8 million for each of those recovery priorities, but the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality says the dollar amounts are essentially placeholders for now: priorities and funding amounts could shift, depending on feedback from public comments and consultation with the Governor's Commission to Rebuild Texas.

The plan notes that many coastal parks were "severely, and in many cases, completely demolished" by Harvey. The money would be used to rebuild parks, boat ramps, piers, bird-viewing towers and other facilities to encourage "nature-based tourism."

Other funds would be used to remove debris and sediment from coastal bayous impacted by Harvey, along with restoring freshwater flows and salinity levels.

The TCEQ is taking public comments on the draft. It will then be finalized and sent to a multi-state council for approval. The agency says it hopes to get the plan approved by the end of this year.

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