The effect of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill reaches across
states, habitats and federal programs. The broad scope of
the spill’s impact necessitates coordinated efforts,
monitoring and oversight from varying entities. From
scientific experts to trustees acting on behalf of the
public, below is a list of entities integral to the
restoration effort in the wake of the Deepwater Horizon oil
Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill Trustee Council
Horizon Oil Spill Trustee Council is authorized by the
Pollution Act of 1990 (OPA). The council is comprised of
federal and state agencies, known as trustees, to evaluate
the impacts of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill on natural
resources. The trustees represent the public interest and
work together to assess the injury to natural resources and
develop plans to restore the injured resources through the
Natural Resource Damage Assessment (NRDA) process.
Cleanup crews removing submerged oil from Ft Pickens sound side.
DEP serves as the trustee agency for the state of
Florida, along with co-trustee agency, the Florida Fish and
Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC). Other trustee
agencies include the
U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI),
National Oceanic and
Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and trustees from each of the
other affected Gulf States - Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana
Technical Working Groups (TWGs)
Technical Working Groups,
more commonly referred to as TWGs, were formed by and report
to the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill Trustee Council. Each TWG
consists of scientific experts in a particular field and are
charged with determining the extent of injuries resulting
from the spill to wildlife or a specific Gulf ecosystem.
TWGs include Birds, Water Column, Fish, Marine Mammals, Sea
Turtles, Submerged Aquatic Vegetation, Coral, Shoreline,
Terrestrial and Freshwater, Human Use (such as recreational
fishing, boating, beach use), Chemistry, Cultural Resources,
Data Management and Aerial Imagery.
Coast Ecosystem Restoration Task Force was established by a
White House Executive Order on October 5, 2010. The Task
Force is responsible for planning and coordinating
intergovernmental responsibilities and facilitating the
exchange of information to better implement Gulf Coast
ecosystem restoration to address the longstanding ecological
decline in the Gulf of Mexico as well as the impacts of the
Deepwater Horizon oil spill.
Great Blue Heron at the Gulf Islands National Seashore
Mimi Drew, Special Advisor to DEP Secretary Herschel
appointed by President Obama as Florida’s
representative for the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Task
Force, along with representatives from each of the Gulf
States. Currently, the Task Force is mobilizing scientific
experts to proactively counter the longstanding ecological
decline experienced by the Gulf of Mexico and is identifying
measures to ensure the future health of the Gulf of Mexico.
The Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council was established by Congress in the Resources and Ecosystems Sustainability, Tourist Opportunities, and Revived Economies of the Gulf Coast States Act of 2012 in early July 2012. The RESTORE Act outlines a structure by which non-criminal Clean Water Act penalties from the DWH oil spill will be utilized to restore the ecosystem and economies of the Gulf Coast. The RESTORE Act dedicates 80% of all Clean Water Act administrative and civil penalties related to the DWH oil spill to the Gulf Coast Restoration Trust Fund.
The Council will publish a Proposed Comprehensive Plan in January 2013, which shall include and incorporate the findings and information prepared by the President’s Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Task Force. An Initial Comprehensive Plan will be released in July 2013. Members of the Council include the Governor or designee from each of the five Gulf States, along with the heads of several federal agencies and departments, including the Secretary of the Department of Commerce, who is the Chairperson of the Council, the Secretary of the Department of the Interior, Secretary of the Army, Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, Secretary of Department of Agriculture, and a Director from the Coast Guard.
BP, the responsible party, is liable to the public and the
environment for damages caused by the oil spill and the cost
of removal. The NRDA process gives the Responsible party an
option to cooperate with the trustee council to assist with
response and restoration instead of pursuing costly
litigation. Cooperation with the responsible party allows
the trustees to focus on response and restoration efforts.
The Gulf Coast
Restoration Organization (GCRO), created and managed by BP,
will replace the Gulf Coast Incident Management Team, a
group of state, federal and BP personnel responsible for
coordinating the oil spill response effort under the U.S.
Federal On-Scene Coordinator in New Orleans, Louisiana. GCRO,
headquartered in New Orleans, will continue to coordinate
with state and federal officials to restore the Gulf of
Mexico to its
pre-spill status. The GCRO Florida branch office is located
in Mary Esther, Florida.
Mother and baby black skimmer on Pensacola Beach
Science Advisory Team (OSAT) is a small group of agency
representatives, or members, located at Deepwater Horizon
Unified Area Command, within the Environmental Unit. The
Unified Area Command operates under the direction of the
Coast Guard’s Federal On-Scene Coordinator. The
Environmental Unit is under the operational control of NOAA. OSAT acts
as an advisory board, providing a cross-agency perspective
based on near real-time analysis of data from the
sub-surface and sub-sea monitoring effort to inform
operational decision making. View the OSAT Reports.
In response to the
Deepwater Horizon oil spill, BP has announced a $500 million commitment over a
10 year period to create a broad independent research
program to be known as the Gulf of Mexico Research
Initiative (GRI). The GRI will investigate the impacts of
the oil, dispersed oil, and dispersant on the ecosystems of
the Gulf of Mexico and affected coastal states. The
GRI will also develop improved oil detection,
characterization and remediation technologies.
Survey of the beach and Pensacola Naval Air Station
The Oil Spill
Academic Task Force (OSATF) is a consortium of scientists
and scholars from institutions in the State University
System as well as five of Florida's private
universities and two marine laboratories. Working in
collaboration with DEP, the OSATF brings together expertise
and resources to assist the state of Florida and the Gulf
region in responding to and studying the Deepwater Horizon