MDEQ begins planning of oil spill damage assessment

JACKSON — The Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) has begun the restoration planning phase of the Natural Resource Damage Assessment (NRDA) process in the wake of the Deep Horizon Oil Spill.

MDEQ also published a Notice of Intent to conduct Restoration Planning. The state’s action was mirrored by other state and federal entities who also filed a Notice of Intent in recent days. That document is available for review on the MDEQ web site:

www.deq.state.ms.us/MDEQ.nsf/page/NRDA_NRDAPlanning2010?OpenDocument.

“This important assessment phase of the NRDA process marks our next step in ensuring that the State of Mississippi is made whole from the damages caused by the oil spill. Through this process, we will assure that all of the damages to our natural resources are fully documented, and that we are ultimately fully compensated,” said Trudy Fisher, MDEQ executive director and the state’s designated trustee of natural resources.

“Simply put, the Oil Pollution Act requires that the entity or entities who caused the damage to our natural resources bear the cost of restoring them. Our goal since the spill has been to make Mississippi whole and (this) announcement marks a meaningful step on that path.”

NRDA is a restoration oriented legal process by which the public is made whole for harm caused to natural resources and use of those resources by incidents such as the Deep Horizon Oil Spill. A formal Notice of Intent indicates that the federal government and the five affected Gulf states (Mississippi, Alabama, Louisiana, Florida and Texas) are well underway in the identification and documentation of impacts to their natural resources and the development of a comprehensive restoration strategy.

“While the full extent of potential injuries to our Gulf Coast resources may take some time to define and understand, trustees have both the authority and the duty to move as quickly as possible to develop potential restoration projects,” said Fisher. “The public will be an important partner in identifying restoration projects, and we look forward to interacting with them as this important discussion moves forward.”

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