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Gulf of Mexico University Research Collaborative News pages report on activities, news items, and issues related to Gulf science and education. Please visit our newsstand (gomurc.fio.usf.edu/phocadownload/gomurc_newsstand-v051816.pdf) for much more news from Gulf partners.

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The Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality announced that the Mississippi Based RESTORE Act Center of Excellence (MBRACE) has been selected as their state’s RESTORE Research Center of Excellence.

MBRACE is a consortium made up of Mississippi’s four major research institutions: the University of Southern Mississippi, Jackson State University, the University of Mississippi, and Mississippi State University. The University of Southern Mississippi will serve as the lead institution with the MBRACE program administered within the University’s Center for Gulf Studies.

 

Full press release can be found here

On Thursday, 2/19, U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier declared that BP should face paying up to $4,300 in fines for each barrel of oil spilled during the Macando well blowout that spilled oil into the Gulf of Mexico for 87 days in 2010. This is the result of an attempt by BP to lower the fines they face from this catastrophic event to $3,000 per barrel, the amount set by the Clean Water Act in 1990. Barbier agreed with federal prosecutors that this amount should be adjusted for inflation.

In prior rulings, Judge Barbier declared that BP acted with “gross negligence” and that 3.19 million barrels of oil were spilled. BP faces a maximum of $13.7 billion fines.

 

For more details, see this article in the Tampa Bay Times.

The peer reviewed study  has found four distinct groupings of dolphin deaths within the Northern Gulf of Mexico Unusual Mortality Event (UME). Three of the groupings followed the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill. The scientists compared the number and demographics of dolphin deaths across the Gulf from January 2010–June 2013 to patterns from 1990–2009. They looked for distinct groupings of high numbers of dolphin deaths, both before and after the spill.

The Barataria Bay dolphin population was a focus of previous peer-reviewed study as part of the on-going Deepwater Horizon Natural Resource Damage Assessment (NRDA). That study showed that live dolphins, which underwent physical examination, had adverse health impacts consistent with exposure to petroleum products.

The causes of the Northern Gulf UME are still under investigation. You can review the full study here.

This work was part of the Deepwater Horizon Natural Resource Damage Assessment and the Northern Gulf Unusual Mortality Investigation being conducted cooperatively by NOAA, other federal and state agencies, and BP.

The Interior Department and Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) announce draft strategy for offshore oil and gas leasing in 2017-2022. The proposal includes ten sales in the Gulf of Mexico, “one of the most productive basins in the world and where oil and gas infrastructure is well established.” The Draft Proposed Program and the Notice of Intent to Develop a Draft Environmental Impact Statement will be available for public comment for 60 days following the publication of the documents in the Federal Register.

 

 

Tagged in: economics energy news

Texas released "notice on selection process for Centers of Excellence" at https://www.restorethetexascoast.org/. As announced, pursuant to RESTORE Act and Treasury statutory and regulatory requirements, "Texas is posting a Request For Grant Applications (RFGA) on the Texas Electronic State Business Daily and on the Texas e-Grants system.  The RFGA will set forth the process by which grant applications must be submitted.  The selection and award of grants will be made in accordance with the TCEQ-established grant process under Texas Water Code 5.124 and the TCEQ grant rules, in particular the rules governing solicitations in 30 TAC Section14.7. Please contact LaTresa Stroud at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., if you have any questions or comments regarding the proposed RFGA."

Tagged in: funding news RESTORE Act

Posted by on in Gulf Restoration - Archives

Final NRDA Phase III Early Restoration plan is now available following the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Largest phase (>60% of $1B) of early restoration, the Plan proposes 44 early restoration projects, environmental analyses for each of them, and proposed strategic approach to early restoration and the environmental analysis for that approach-- http://www.gulfspillrestoration.noaa.gov/restoration/early-restoration/phase-iii/?utm_source=final+phase+III+announcement&utm_campaign=early+restoration+phase+III&utm_medium=email

Tagged in: funding news restoration

Posted by on in Gulf Policy - Archives

Most recent White House budgets at http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/budget/Overview

Tagged in: budget news policy

Posted by on in Gulf Restoration - Archives

NRDA Phase III Early Restoration Program plan still in review-- track at http://www.gulfspillrestoration.noaa.gov/restoration/early-restoration/phase-iii/

Tagged in: funding news restoration

Posted by on in Gulf Policy - Archives

House passed FY2015 Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies (CJS) appropriations bill last week, now being considered by Senate. AAAS analysis is at http://www.aaas.org/news/house-passes-one-nsf-budget-while-authorizers-grapple-another

Tagged in: budget news science

Posted by on in Gulf Restoration - Archives

Judge sets date in January 2015 for final phase (setting penalties) for BP oil spill civil trial-- http://www.nola.com/business/index.ssf/2014/04/timeline_released_for_final_pe.html.

Posted by on in Gulf Policy - Archives

Hearing on Thu, April 30, 10am ET, of House Science, Space and Technology Committee, Environment subcommittee, will review NOAA's FY2015 Budget (site includes link for live video of hearing)-- http://science.house.gov/hearing/environment-subcommittee-hearing-overview-national-oceanic-and-atmospheric-administration

Tagged in: budget news science

Posted by on in Gulf Restoration - Archives

NFWF announcement for initial round of restoration projects for $100M-- http://www.nfwf.org/whoweare/mediacenter/pr/Pages/NFWF-Announces-More-Than-$100-Million-.aspx

Tagged in: funding news restoration

Posted by on in Gulf Restoration - Archives

Phase III NRDA Early Restoration Program projects approved: LA $340M for barrier island restoration projects and fisheries research centers-- http://www.nola.com/environment/index.ssf/2013/04/bps_340_million_will_restore_4.html; MS  $82 million  for four projects to "address loss of use by providing residents and visitors with new recreational options, better access to existing natural resources and a greater opportunity to enjoy them"-- http://msbusiness.com/blog/2013/05/02/governor-unveils-oil-spill-settlement-funded-projects/; AL $94 million for projects "to enhance Gulf State Park at Gulf Shores, to restore sand dunes in the undeveloped beachfront and to construct and enhance trails in the park" -- http://www.wdef.com/news/state/story/Agreement-reached-on-Ala-oil-spill-restoration/bUNqUVovFk668JmnnRwZTA.cspx?rss=3472; FL $58 million for 12 projects in 8 FL counties-- http://www.wjhg.com/home/headlines/Gov-Scott-Announces-58-Million-in-Early-Restoration-Projects-for-Fla-Communities-205780301.html; TX $18M to support 5 projects -- http://www.chron.com/news/texas/article/BP-to-pay-18M-for-Texas-Gulf-restoration-work-4484295.php.

Tagged in: funding news restoration

Posted by on in Gulf Restoration - Archives

BP civil trial daily transcripts are at http://www.mdl2179trialdocs.com/.  Settlement docs on LA district court web site-- http://www.laed.uscourts.gov/OilSpill/OilSpill.htm.

Posted by on in Gulf Restoration - Archives

Follow BP civil trial on Twitter at #BPTrial.

GOMURC member consortia on Facebook-- Alabama at https://www.facebook.com/disealab, Florida at https://www.facebook.com/floridainstituteofoceanography

Tagged in: news outreach science

Posted by on in Gulf Restoration - Archives

DoJ press release (and links to related documents) regarding settlement with Transocean at http://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/2013/January/13-ag-004.html. Environmental Law Inst. summary of Transocean DWH Oil Spill settlement is at http://eli-ocean.org/gulf/files/Transocean-Settlement.pdf

Posted by on in Gulf Restoration - Archives

Judge Barbier approves $7.8B settlement for BP class action suit-- http://www.insurancejournal.com/news/national/2012/12/26/275231.htm

Posted by on in Gulf Restoration - Archives

BP settles criminal fines-- http://www.abc6.com/story/20107832/bp-to-pay-45-billion-in-oil-spill-settlement

Posted by on in Gulf Restoration - Archives

President signs Transportation Bill, MAP-21, with RESTORE Act (PL-112-141, subtitle F), which ensures 80% of DWH oil spill settlements and penalties go to Gulf Coast Restoration Trust Fund (versus all going to national Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund)-- available at http://www.treasury.gov/services/restore-act/Pages/default.aspx

Tagged in: funding news RESTORE Act
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