More than 700 new artificial reefs are going into the waters off Pensacola in the next few months, in phase two of a program funded by the BP settlement of the 2010 oil spill. According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, for every dollar spent on artificial reefs in the Florida Panhandle, the conservative overall economic benefit is roughly $138. "We've been trying to do this the whole time I've been on the [Commission]; actually, even before I got on the Board Escambia County had taken a fairly aggressive position on reefing," said Escambia County Commissioner Grover Robinson, who chairs the Gulf Consortium, 23 Florida counties affected by the Deepwater Horizon explosion and resulting oil spill.
Dropping artificial reefs off the coastline is going beyond Escambia; Santa Rosa, Okaloosa, Walton and Bay Counties also have programs. Robinson calls it a "common thread" across northwest Florida to build habitat that can translate into more tourist revenues. The money's coming from the Natural Resource Damage Assessment, NRDA, which is aimed at compensating for environmental damages in those counties.
As part of the project, there also will be an upgraded interactive map of area reef sites showing both reef modules and shipwreck sites through Google Earth; and a new app for GPS units.
"We also have the coordinates in a GPX format that is available for most of the newer GPS units," said Turpin. "Where you can simply upload the coordinates in your GPS unit, instead of the old-fashioned way where you had to literally punch in the numbers one at a time."
"The money's coming from the Natural Resource Damage Assessment, NRDA, which is aimed at compensating for environmental damages in those counties."
It's a really great idea but just one more oil spill like the last one and it is all for naught. BP isn't "donating" this money either, they are forced to pay this money in damages for the disaster they created, so please, let's not be patting BP on the back= for this.
The place it is needed most is in Louisiana, that state is sinking into the gulf. About a square mile every day. Control the Mississippi from flooding and silt is no longer deposited on the land to build it up. Unintended consequences are as real as intentional ones.
Silting eventually fills up our dams, reducing water storage and the population it can support. Meanwhile, the population just keeps growing.
BP was fined a small fraction of the destruction they had wrought across the Caribbean, inclding killing 11 of hteir employees. The US Coast Guard kept reporters out of the worst areas while BP spread chemicals designed to obscure the worst damage, whose use are illegal in the EU.
Some of the money our Government collected as BP fines has been designated for reef establishment. That's a good thing. No one should think that BP did anything out of the goodness of their heart or that our Government would give you a break if you got caught so much as hurting one turtle egg.
BP has a long history of putting its employees at risk to save money. Wildlife is never given a thought. A 2005 explosion at BP's Texas City refinery killed 15 and injured 180 others. The federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration later charged that BP failed to comply with a settlement agreement involving that accident, and failed a 2009 inspection of that plant. Whoopdee doo.
If you kill 24 people, you'll be lucky to escape the death penalty.
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