NFWF Launches Gulf Environmental Benefit Fund to Restore Gulf Coast Natural Resources

 NFWF Launches Gulf Environmental Benefit Fund to Restore Gulf Coast Natural
                                  Resources

PR Newswire

WASHINGTON, May 13, 2013

WASHINGTON, May 13, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ --The National Fish and
Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) today announced the public launch of the Gulf
Environmental Benefit Fund through which NFWF will administer and monitor
$2.544 billion from plea agreements resolving certain criminal cases arising
from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon explosion and oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

With today's announcement, NFWF also outlined procedures and criteria for
selecting projects for funding in the Gulf Coast states of Alabama, Florida,
Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas.

As mandated in the plea agreements, NFWF has begun consulting with natural
resource management agencies in each of the five Gulf States and with the
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife
Service. The input of these agencies will be the primary means through which
project selection under the Gulf Fund will be coordinated with actions of the
Deepwater Horizon Natural Resource Damage Assessment Trustee Council and the
RESTORE Council.

"We will work to develop consensus among the state and federal resource
agencies to identify projects that meet the conditions of the plea agreement
to benefit the natural resources of the Gulf Coast," said Jeff Trandahl, NFWF
executive director and CEO.

Under the terms of the plea agreements between the Department of Justice and
BP and Transocean, the Gulf Environmental Benefit Fund will receive a total of
$1.272 billion for barrier island and river diversion projects in the state of
Louisiana; $356 million for natural resource projects in each of the states of
Alabama, Florida, and Mississippi; and $203 million for similar projects in
the state of Texas. Payments into the fund will occur over a five-year
period, with more than half the funding coming in years four and five.

The first payments totaling $158 million were received in April and the next
installments are scheduled for February 2014 under the terms of the
agreements.

The primary criterion for project selection is to "remedy harm and eliminate
or reduce the risk of future harm to Gulf Coast natural resources" that were
impacted by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, as required in the plea
agreements.

Further criteria will emphasize projects that advance priorities in natural
resource management plans such as those called for under the RESTORE Act, are
within reasonable proximity to where impacts occurred as appropriate, are
cost-effective, maximize environmental benefits, are science-based and that
produce measurable and meaningful conservation outcomes to habitatsand
species of a type impacted by the oil spill.

The plea agreements require that the funds designated for Louisiana be
allocated solely to barrier island restoration projects and river diversion
projects along the Mississippi and Atchafalaya rivers.In identifying such
projects, NFWF will give appropriate consideration to Louisiana's Coastal
Master Plan and the Louisiana Coastal Area Mississippi River Hydrodynamic and
Delta Management Study.

Organizations or agencies interested in submitting project proposals for
consideration should direct that information to the lead state agency in the
appropriate Gulf state as identified on the NFWF website (www.nfwf.org/gulf).


The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, a Congressionally chartered
non-profit corporation, is one of the largest private funders of conservation
projects in the United States. It is subject to oversight by Congress and a
board of directors that includes the heads of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife
Service and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), as
well as representatives from states, non-governmental organizations and
industry. Its board is appointed by the Secretary of the Interior.

For more information please visit www.nfwf.org.

SOURCE National Fish and Wildlife Foundation

Website: http://www.nfwf.org
 
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