Early BP restoration money to rebuild Louisiana barrier islands

Shrimpers work near Shell Island in this July 11, 2012 file photo (John Snell)
Shrimpers work near Shell Island in this July 11, 2012 file photo (John Snell)

(WVUE) - Trustees from Louisiana and the four other Gulf Coast states approved hundreds of millions of dollars in restoration projects paid for through BP's "down payment" for damage from the 2010 oil spill.

The projects include $322 million to rebuild four Louisiana barrier islands: Whiskey Island; Cheniere Ronquille; Shell Island; and North Breton Island.

The trustees released the final Programmatic Environment Impact Statement and Phase III Early Restoration plan, which includes more than $600 million for Louisiana, Texas, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida.

The projects are aimed primarily at restoring environmental areas impacted by the Deepwater Horizon blowout.

The funding allows for a second phase of work on Shell Island in Plaquemines Parish, which the state partially rebuilt last year.

They are the latest funding from a $1 billion advance payment from BPPLC.

Although they are generally without controversy, Alabama's plan for a nearly $60 million conference center has produced backlash.

"Alabama is squandering $58.5 out of its $93.7 million share of the funds to 'restore' the public's ability to look at the beach through the window of a conference center and hotel," said a statement from Jordan Macha, Gulf Policy Analyst for the Gulf Restoration Network.

Alabama officials have defended the project, citing the spill's negative effects on the state's tourism industry.

Texas refused to sign off on the overall plan, complaining about a lack of projects for its coast.

A federal judge must still approve the spending.

Follow FOX 8:    

Copyright 2014 WVUE. All rights reserved.