Small oil spills off Louisiana’s coast could help pay for coastal restoration projects as part of a state law signed by Governor John Bel Edwards.
House Bill 640, the first of its kind in the nation, authorizes the state Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority to set up an oil spill mitigation bank.
Similar to wetland banks, the oil spill mitigation bank would have private investors pay for and build wetland projects included in the state’s master plan for coastal restoration and protection.
The state would then assign a number of credits that could be sold to oil companies to make up for environmental damage caused by small oil spills.
Megan Terrell, a legal adviser for the Governor’s Office of Coastal Activities, said the mitigation program would allow for larger coastal projects to be built more quickly and at less cost than the government can accomplish.
Currently, a company may just do a million-dollar project to account for damage, but with the option to buy credits on an already constructed wetland, the impact can be increased while helping meet the state’s coastal restoration goals.
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