Mississippi’s restoration economy grows with the arrival of BP’s billions

The Deepwater Horizon oil spill court settlement between BP and the government was reached on April 4, 2016. This was just a couple of weeks before the sixth anniversary of the world’s largest oil spill. The settlement clears the way for funding for projects on the Mississippi Gulf Coast designed to compensate for the environmental damages.

The restoration economy is growing,” said Jordan Macha, a RESTORE specialist with the Gulf Restoration Network. “These monies are going to provide a lot of good, new jobs for Mississippians. We are going to see this restoration industry grow and benefit the economy in Mississippi.

There are three different funding streams set up underneath the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council (RESTORE) totaling $16.7 billion for states from Texas to Florida, with about $1.4 billion allocated to Mississippi.

The money is expected to be used for many different types of projects such as restoration of oyster reefs, boat ramps, trails and living shoreline projects.

What we see as the biggest opportunity is a perfect way for the state to invest in water quality infrastructure,” said Macha. “This is particularly important because we have seen major water quality issues on the Gulf Coast that affect how folks are able to use coastal areas. There are beach water advisories fairly often indicating it is not safe to swim. A lot of that is from inadequate stormwater and wastewater infrastructure. If the state is willing to invest the RESTORE funds in improving the infrastructure, it is going to boost tourism, help the fisheries, and will certainly benefit the people living along the Gulf Coast.

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