$320 Million of BP Bucks Released for Louisiana Barrier Island Restoration, Today, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal announced that BP has agreed to fund approximately $320 million in barrier island restoration projects in the state. The funds will come from the $1 billion in early Natural Resource Damage Assessment funds BP agreed to invest in restorating damaged natural resources stemming from the spill.

The Environmental Defense Fund, National Wildlife Federation and National Audubon Society will all benefit. They released the following joint statement in response to the announcement:

“More than two years after BP’s initial pledge, it’s about time that a large amount of early Natural Resource Damage Assessment funds be released for work in hard-hit Louisiana. These dollars, still only a portion of the $1 billion BP down payment, will restore four barrier islands directly affected by the 2010 BP oil disaster, that provide important habitat for birds, fish and other wildlife.

“We are glad to see the Natural Resource Damage Assessment process is moving forward, because Gulf Coast restoration has waited long enough. The Mississippi River Delta is an economic and environmental cornerstone for the Gulf region and the entire nation, and barrier island restoration projects are an important component of necessary comprehensive coastal restoration. These projects will materially advance implementation of Louisiana’s 2012 Master Plan for a Sustainable Coast, the foundation of the effort to reverse wetland loss in the Mississippi River Delta.

“We encourage the Natural Resource Damage Assessment trustees, the state of Louisiana, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the Department of Interior (DOI) and BP to continue to work together on projects like these that will restore Louisiana’s coast following the harm done during the BP oil disaster.”

EDF PR says tonight that the early Natural Resource Damage Assessment (NRDA) projects will restore four barrier islands, from Terrebonne Parish to the east bank of Plaquemines Parish including:

Caillou Lake Headlands Component, which is also known as Whiskey Island, in Terrebonne Parish;
Cheniere Ronquille Component, on the west bank of Plaquemines Parish in Barataria Bay;
Shell Island Component, on the west bank of Plaquemines Parish in Barataria Bay;
and Breton Island Component, which is on the east bank of Plaquemines Parish in the Breton Sound.
Beaches, marshes, dune and waterways are crucial components of the restoration that will be funded by BP.

This latest news comes just hours after BP posted its 1st Q. earnings. Profits for the British oil giant are down 9 percent over last year.

Louisiana's coastal erosion has significantly accellerated due to the spill and its aftermath. Hurricane Isaac dredged up oil and dispersants, a stark reminder of what's at stake in the ongoing civil trial in New Orleans.