RESTORE Act Offers Gulf Coast New Opportunities Following BP Oil Spill

According to a SouthernStudies.org news report, new legislation passed by Congress may provide new financial opportunities and restoration to Gulf Coast residents affected by the 2010 British Petroleum (BP) oil spill. The new act, entitled RESTORE the Gulf Coast States Act, may bring billions of dollars in resources and a range of new opportunities for “environmental restoration, fighting poverty, and promoting economic mobility.” The Pew Center on the States says Louisiana, Alabama, Florida, Texas, and Mississippi are among the worst states in the nation for economic mobility and are home to fishing communities that face poverty rates that are double and triple the national rates. Though these communities have typically had limited means, a healthy Gulf provided financial support for generations of families; however, following the devastation of both Hurricane Katrina and the BP oil spill, small family-owned fishing and seafood enterprises are under threat. The full extent of the oil spill’s ecological damages are not known, but in a number of places, crab, shrimp, and oyster catches are down, which means layoffs at processing plants and underemployed shrimp boat captains, deckhands, and oyster harvesters. The loss of income has meant that formerly self-reliant people have had to turn to[…..]

Post-Gulf Oil Spill, Seafood Sales Significantly Down

According to a Nola.com news report, seafood sales have suffered a major loss following the 2010 BP (British Petroleum) oil spill. Private plaintiffs now seeking a class settlement with BP joined with the company to analyze the total fishing losses on the Gulf, which they are using to justify a $2.3 billion settlement of seafood damage claims. The plaintiff attorney cited new data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in a federal court recently, which showed that seafood harvesters in the affected areas of the Gulf lost a total of $46 million in revenue in 2010 (affected areas stretch from east Texas to the tip of Florida). This revenue loss shows a 9.5 percent drop compared to the annual average three years before the spill. The data was broken down by oceanic fare, such as shrimp, oysters, blue crab, finfish, and various other seafood. Some noteworthy data include: Gulf oyster sales were down a combined 35 percent in 2011 compared to the years before the oil spill; finfish sales decreased by 22 percent in 2010; and landing revenues for crabs dropped six percent in 2010 and two percent more in 2011. BP and the plaintiffs in the case used[…..]

MD Seafood Restaurants Still Feel Effects of Gulf Oil Spill

The April 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill, triggered by a deadly rig explosion caused by a blown-out Macondo well, still has a significant impact two years later on residents and businesses of the Gulf Coast and other coastal states including Maryland. Recognized as the nation’s worst offshore oil spill, BP (British Petroleum), the global oil and gas company responsible for the spill, established a $20 billion fund to compensate those who claim they suffered economic losses as a result of the disaster, including charter captains, commercial fishermen, property owners, and hotels. Thus far, the fund has paid out most to businesses and individuals who lost wages and earnings because of the spill, an estimated total of $5.9 billion dollars. Long-Term Effects of the Spill Though a U.S. Court has now agreed to oversee the paying of the Gulf spill-related claims, relieving Kenneth Feinberg of his duties (the man who has so far been handling the long, complicated process), an extraordinary number of claims are still being filed because the effects of the spill were felt by so many. According to The Baltimore Sun, seafood restaurants in Maryland still feel the effects of the 2010 spill as the fisheries’ shutdowns[…..]