Locals suggest oil-spill recovery actions
By Nikki Buskey
THIBODAUX — Local officials gathered Monday to learn about a study that will assess environmental damage from the Gulf oil spill, come up with a plan to fix it and hand BP the bill.
The meeting, at Nicholls State University, was the first of several across the state on the Natural Resources Damage Assessment process.
Scientists count every dead animal, acre of affected marsh and lost day for fishermen, boaters and swimmers. They study the long-term affect the oil spill could have on the environment. Then, they create a restoration plan to make up for those losses, and BP pays to implement it. The average assessment takes three to four years.
If a settlement on spill compensation can’t be reached, the states and the federal government will have a five-year window to sue BP, court proceedings that could drag on for decades.
At the forum, locals raised concerns about the process and suggested restoration and fisheries projects.
Patty Whitney, an organizer with the local church-based activist group BISCO, questioned why local Indian tribes, who aren’t recognized by the federal government but are directly impacted by the spill, haven’t been appointed as representatives in the assessment process.
Drue Banta, counsel for the Governor’s Office of Coastal Activities, said regular meetings could be held with the tribes to ensure their involvement. Read more.
Source: Locals suggest oil-spill recovery actions | DailyComet.com