Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and the Gulf of Mexico Fishing Industry [February 17, 2011] [open pdf - 229KB]
"On April 20, 2010, the Deepwater Horizon oil drilling rig was destroyed by an explosion and fire, and the oil well began releasing oil into the Gulf of Mexico. The oil spill caused significant economic harm to the Gulf fishing industry because of fishery closures and consumer concerns related to the safety of Gulf seafood. Intermediate and long-term concerns are related to impacts on marine populations and degradation of fisheries habitat necessary for spawning, development of early life stages, and growth. [...] The 112th Congress may continue to conduct oversight of efforts to promote fishing industry recovery, adequate compensation to fishermen and businesses, and Gulf restoration. Ongoing efforts by federal agencies and states to ensure seafood safety and to regain and maintain the reputation of Gulf seafood are the most immediate challenges currently faced by the fishing industry. As the NRDA [Natural Resource Damage Assessment] process moves from the planning to restoration phase, questions may arise regarding the level of the potential settlement and the types of restoration activities identified by the trustees. In contrast to NRDA, three bills have been introduced in the 112th Congress to address elements of the Administration's restoration plan. All three bills would establish a Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Fund and require 80% of any amounts collected by the United States as penalties, settlements, or fines under the Federal Water Pollution Control Act to be deposited into the fund. They would also establish a governing body to distribute funding and coordinate restoration efforts. Potential issues involve the allocation of funds, focus of restoration projects, and coordination with other restoration efforts."
CRS Report for Congress, R41640