News Releases from Headquarters›Land and Emergency Management (OLEM)
EPA and Federal Partners Commemorate 10-year Anniversary of Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill
WASHINGTON – Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) joined federal partners—including the U.S. Coast Guard, Department of the Interior, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration—in commemorating the 10-year anniversary of the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill in the Gulf of Mexico. On April 20, 2010, an explosion on the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig led to the largest marine oil spill in American history. Eleven men lost their lives and 17 other individuals were injured. On this 10th anniversary, EPA is honoring the lives lost and injured, acknowledging the damage done to the ecosystem and Gulf Coast, and applauding the incredible restoration that has happened in the Gulf of Mexico.
“I want to acknowledge and thank those EPA employees, as well as those from our sister agencies and state and local partners, who responded to the Deep Water Horizon spill 10 years ago. The men and women who responded, many working for months on end on the response and cleanup efforts, are true heroes,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler.
From the moment the Deepwater Horizon oil spill occurred in 2010, EPA was an active participant in response activities led by the U.S. Coast Guard, including collecting air and water quality samples. Over 100,000 environmental samples were taken by EPA and others, and these data are used to inform the restoration work currently underway in the Gulf of Mexico. The Deepwater Horizon oil spill impacted a wide array of natural resources like coral, fish, wetlands, beaches, and birds, as well as economic and recreational resources in the Gulf. One way that EPA now contributes its unique scientific, policy, and legal expertise to restore the northern Gulf ecosystem is as a Trustee under the Oil Pollution Act’s Natural Resource Damage Assessment (NRDA) and restoration program. In the 10 years since the spill approximately 200 projects—valued at $1.4 billion—have been approved by the NRDA Trustees to restore injured natural resources.
Additionally, as Chair of the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council (RESTORE Council), EPA, under the leadership of Administrator Andrew Wheeler and Associate Deputy Administrator Doug Benevento, works with its partners and the public to develop the best restoration plans and projects possible. For example, the RESTORE Council has approved State Expenditure Plans containing $475 million for projects. EPA has been able to provide expertise to Gulf restoration across many resource areas, including reducing excess nutrients and helping address marine litter. The RESTORE Council 10-year Commemorative Report tells the story of the people who have taken action to meet the restoration challenges and the remarkable achievements realized by their collaborative work.
“The important work of Gulf Coast recovery is a marathon, not a sprint. Certainly, while much positive ground has been covered, many miles remain,” said RESTORE Council Executive Director Ben Scaggs. “At this 10-year milestone, I’m encouraged by the collaboration being demonstrated among the Gulf State Governors and across the Federal Council members. Thanks to that attitude, we’re running this restoration race with a prevailing tailwind.”
Successfully addressing the many challenges facing the Gulf requires sustained efforts and unprecedented collaboration across all levels of government, the private sector, communities and organizations. EPA carries out its NRDA and RESTORE Council responsibilities in partnership with fellow federal and Gulf state trustees and council members to support the ongoing restoration of the Gulf. Over the last 10 years, EPA and our federal and state co-Trustees and Council members have made significant progress restoring the Gulf of Mexico’s natural resources and building its economy affected by the spill and will work to sustain this progress into the next decade to benefit communities today and in the future.
To learn more about NRDA and the RESTORE and to view EPA’s 10thAnniversary Deep Water Horizon commemoration videos, please visit https://19january2021snapshot.epa.gov/deepwaterhorizon.