Restoration plans have been laid out for the Gulf Coast in Texas following the BP oil spill in 2010 that spewed more than 200 million gallons of crude into the Gulf. The Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill Natural Resource Damage Assessment Trustees have proposed five projects in Texas totaling $18.4 million dollars from BP, and officials are looking for public comment.
The projects do not directly address the spill damage but offer other amenities that would bring both ecological and economic benefits to the Gulf.
Texas Parks and Wildlife spokesman Tom Harvey says $7.4 million in projects is pinpointed for the Texas Artificial Reef program.
“One of them would sink a ship [to create an artificial reef]," Harvey said.
Harvey says if a suitable ship could not be found, an alternative project would be pursued off the coast of Corpus Christi, along with two others near Matagorda and Freeport.
“These artificial reefs are like oases in the desert for all kinds of marine creatures because the Gulf is mostly a mud floor. And so these artificial reefs create these complicated and vibrant communities for the small stuff all the way up to the big game fish like red fish and tarpon and other kinds of game fish,” Harvey explained. "And they make great diving spots."
Other projects would restore parts of Galveston Island destroyed by Hurricane Ike and build amenities at Sea Rim in Port Arthur.
Three public meetings on the proposals are scheduled along the coast in January, and public comment will be accepted in writing through Feb. 4.
Oil giant BP agreed last year to pay $4 billion to settle criminal allegations against the company, and Halliburton Energy Services this year plead guilty to charges of destroying evidence in the 2010 oil spill that also killed 11 people.