On April 4, 2016, a federal judge signed the consent decree approving a historic $20.8 billion settlement for the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, the largest marine oil spill in US history. Under the settlement terms, BP will pay over $13 billion for restoration, recovery, and research activities in the Gulf to address the immediate and long-term impacts to the coasts and offshore environments. These fines are in addition to $2.54 billion in criminal penalties resulting from plea agreements with BP and Transocean. All of this restoration funding will be distributed through three separate processes, each with different circumstances and managed by different entities. And, with only a portion of these funds awarded or committed to projects so far, this is a pivotal time to advocate for a strategic, comprehensive vision for Gulf restoration efforts among the Natural Resource Damage Assessment leads, the Restore Council, and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation. CHOW 2016 will bring together the major decision makers and local players to connect the dots, better coordinate and streamline processes, and find ways to leverage resources in order to make a greater impact for the entire Gulf region.
Ted Lillestolen | Interim President and CEO, National Marine Sanctuary Foundation
Annie Snider | Reporter, POLITICO Pro
Robert Bonnie │Under Secretary, USDA Natural Resources and Environment
Leslie Craig | Southeast Supervisor, Restoration Center, NOAA Office of Habitat Conservation
Roberta Swann | Director, Mobile Bay National Estuary Program
Michael Sharp | Director, Gulf Environmental Benefit Fund, National Fish and Wildlife Foundation