Surviving the Next Gulf Oil Spill

Down here on the Gulf of Mexico, the air is heavy with expectation as we await the arrival of billions of dollars in fines from companies involved in the BP oil-well blowout, which spewed millions of gallons of oil into the gulf over three months in 2010.

The Restore Act, signed by President Obama last year, sets aside 80 percent of the civil fines assessed under the federal Clean Water Act for use in the five gulf states — Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas. Politicians and environmentalists in each of those states have been busy concocting ways to spend the windfall — though it is unclear exactly how much it will be.

The money will mostly be split among the states and a new entity, the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council, composed of state and federal officials. There are already plenty of ideas among the states for spending the cash, including constructing a sea wall around the city jail in Mobile, Ala., and deepening shipping channels. Biloxi, Miss., is using money already given to the state by BP to build a baseball stadium.

Read full text at The New York Times