The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the Department of the Interior (DOI) announced the next phase of the Natural Resource Damage Assessment (NRDA) on February 20, 2011.
NOAA and the DOI plan to develop a Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (PEIS) that involves state co-trustess from all affected states (Louisiana, Florida, Mississippi, Texas, and Alabama) in a Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (PEIS). The first phase is meetings in all the affected areas.
The stated goal of a notice published in the Federal Register is to restore the Gulf of Mexico environment to its pre-spill condition.
Scientists from NOAA, DOI, DOD (Department of Defense), Florida, Mississippi, Alabama, Louisiana and Texas are collecting and analyzing data about the affect of the BP oil spill on the Gulf Coast region’s fish, wildlife and habitats.
Public scoping meetings are designed to evaluate restoration options and to develop a means to compensate the public (the mean the state governments) for the loss of the use of the affected habitats.
The public also may submit their comments at this site. The full meeting schedule will be posted by at this site by the end of February.
“NRDA is the legal process authorized by the Oil Pollution Act of 1990 and other laws, to determine the type of environmental restoration needed to compensate the public for harm to natural resources as a result of a spill. The PEIS is part of the overall NRDA effort, whose final restoration plans will be enacted by BP and the other parties responsible for the spill with no expenditure of taxpayer funds. The NRDA process is separate from the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Task Force, announced by President Obama last October. While separate, it will work to coordinate its planning with the final NRDA Restoration Plan.”
Jane Lubchenco, Ph. D., under secretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and NOAA administrator, Chris Doley, director of the NOAA Restoration Center, and Cindy Dohner, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Southeast regional director who is serving as the Secretary of the Interior’s authorized official for the Deepwater Horizon NRDA are the go to people for the PEIS program and public scoping.
How will the state compensate me when I will never see a dime for my loss? The State of Alabama must have some body that is not state controlled to oversee their use of any money received as compensation considering Alabama is and has been one of the most flagrant violators of pollution law and is at present involved in two law suits against the EPA to prevent enforcement of the Clean Air and Water Act which Alabama has violated for thirty years.
In other BP oil spill news, Kimberly Blair at pnj.com reported the results of months of research by the Center for Environmental Diagnostics and Bioremediation at the University of West Florida in a FFebruary 20, 2011,article.
The research includes samples of beach sand, Gulf of Mexico water, and the bodies of coquina clams collected from the oil spill area.
The clam’s habitat in intertidal zones and their chemistry make them an ideal barometer for the on going affect of oil on Gulf Coast animals and beaches.
The clams are particularly useful in accounting for polyaromatic hydrocarbons (PAH).
The results may be used by government investigators to make decisions about remediation efforts when they are complete.
Joe Lepo and his team at the University of West Florida are collaborating with Alabama State University, Auburn University and University of Alabama at Birmingham in analyzing the true affect of the oil spill on bacteria that could consume some of the oil.
Lepo states it would take thirty years for the bacteria to consume all the oil left in the Gulf of Mexico but the future is unknown.
Samantha Joye of the University of Georgia told the American Association for the Advancement of Science annual conference in Washington on February 19, 2011, that “Magic microbes consumed maybe 10 percent of the total discharge, the rest of it we don’t know, there’s a lot of it out there.” according to a February 20, 2011, article by Seth Borenstein at pnj.com.
Previous overly hopeful estimates of how much oil was consumed by bacteria is attributed to looking at different areas at different times.
Joye examined 2500 different areas in the Gulf of Mexico and has underwater footage to back up her claims that oil from the DeepWater Horizon disaster is being deposited on the ocean floor and is killing wild life.
How can an agency plan on remediation and accept public comment when the true nature of the environmental affect has yet to be determined? Is this another government shell game or give away program?