BP Said to Seek Settlement of Spill Claims
According to Bloomberg News, BP is negotiating with U.S. officials to settle pollution claims prior to the start of its February 27 trial. The company may be liable for as much as $17.6 billion in fines. Read the full story.
BP needs to settle Clean Water Act claims before a trial over its level of culpability for the spill, said David Uhlmann, former head of the U.S. Justice Department’s environmental- crimes unit The incentive for “BP is overwhelming for a settlement.”
The settlement cost for London-based BP, Europe’s second- largest oil company, may reach $25 billion on government claims alone, including as much as $10 billion for Clean Water Act violations.Beyond the Clean Water Act, the company may also pay a $10 billion criminal fine and another $5 billion in natural-resource damages payments to the U.S. and the Gulf Coast states. Read more.
Update on the RESTORE Act
As stated above, BP might reach a settlement with the government on the Clean Water Act fines owed for the oil spill. There is concern among conservation groups that if the RESTORE Act (S.B. 1400) is not passed before the settlement, the fines might go into the federal treasury without any hope that the money will be spent on Gulf of Mexico restoration. There is a move in the House to have a voice vote TODAY to wall off the funds until legislation can be passed that sets rules for their use. This is a strategy to protect the funds until the RESTORE Act can be passed.
Conservation groups and Gulf lawmakers have been pushing to attach the RESTORE Act to the Transportation bill in the Senate and pass it out of the Senate this week. However, it appears that the Transportation bill is not ready, and the vote will be pushed back to the week of February 27.
We want this legislation to pass as soon as possible, but the extra time means that the Partnership still has time to contact the media and Members of Congress to express support. Julia and Liz will be working with Partners to get our message out.
Partnership Submitted Comments Regarding Early Restoration
Comments on behalf of the Partnership were submitted expressing general support for the Trustees and the projects chosen for the first round of restoration. We urged them to make environmental restoration a top priority, and to include permanent land conservation as a strategy for future projects.
GOMESA Funds Increased in the House
The house passed the Landry/Richmond Amendment to H.R. 3408 this week. The measure will increase the offshore drilling revenue provided to Louisiana, Texas, Mississippi and Alabama from $500 million per year to $750 million per year. The Senate has not acted on this measure.
CIAP Funds Cut in President’s 2013 Budget. The White House is proposing to cut approximately $200 million in CIAP funds in 2013. Read more.
2012 Southeast Regional Land Conservation Conference: Registration Open!
The conference will be held at the Sea Palms Resort on St. Simon’s Island on the Georgia coast. Seminars will be offered on topics such as how to strengthen land and forest conservation programs, managing and defending conservation easements in the future, partnering with the Department of Defense on military buffer zones, and expanding land trust community outreach and support. Learn more about registration and the conference agenda.
Partnership Funders and Supporters
]We would like to express our sincere appreciation to the following organizations and individuals for their financial and in-kind support:
- C.S. Mott Foundation
- Gulf of Mexico Foundation
- Albert Joerger
- Galveston Bay Foundation
- Trust for Public Land
- The Conservation Fund
- The Nature Conservancy
- Ducks Unlimited
Gulf of Mexico Alliance (GOMA) Announces All Hands Meeting
The All Hands Meeting will be held June 18 – 21, 2012 at the Omni Bayfront and Marina Hotel in Corpus Christi, Texas. The agenda and registration details will follow. View more information about GOMA.
The Land Trust for the Mississippi Coastal Plain (LTMCP) will host the Rendezvous on the Bayou on Friday, March 2, 2012 in Ocean Springs, MS. Kayakers and other friends of LTMCP enjoy food and fun while building and racing cardboard boats. The event raises money and awareness for the organization. LTMCP has hosted kayaking and canoeing events throughout South Mississippi to promote low-impact recreation and connect residents with the rivers and bayous in their backyards. "People are more likely to protect a resource that they use and enjoy," states LTMCP Executive Director, Judy Steckler.
TKF Foundation Grant Opportunity
The TKF Foundation supports the creation of public green spaces that offer temporary sanctuary, encourage reflection, provide solace, and engender peace and well being. The Foundation's Open Spaces Sacred Places National Awards Initiative funds the development of significant new public green spaces in urban settings that demonstrate a combination of high quality design-build and rigorous research about user impacts. The initiative’s final Request for Proposals (RFP) will support cross-disciplinary teams that are able to 1) conceptualize, plan, design, and implement an open and sacred green space, 2) conduct an associated research study(ies), and 3) communicate scientific findings. Funded projects should serve as potential models for urban areas across the United States. A total of $4 million is available through this RFP.
An informational webinar about the Open Spaces Sacred Places Award Initiative and RFP is scheduled for February 28, 2012 from 2:00 – 3:00 pm EST. Reserve your space. Deadline: June 29, 2012. Learn more.
North Face Explore Fund Grant Opportunity
Grants of up to $2,500 are provided to organizations that encourage youth outdoor participation, focusing primarily on creating more connections of children to nature, increasing access to both front and backcountry recreation, as well as providing education for both personal and environmental health. Funded programs should seek a specific audience and reach out to a specific community or place of interest. Opens: March 1, 2012. Deadline: April 6, 2012. Learn more.
Partnership for Gulf Coast Land Conservation
Ocean Springs, MS