Coastal activists hail news of oil spill settlement

Coastal activists hail news of oil spill settlement

BATON ROUGE, LA (WVUE) - While details of the settlement with BP are still classified, activists say this is one of the biggest days in history for the Louisiana coastline.

Billions of dollars will be dedicated to restoration efforts, what will be a significant down payment on the state's 50-year, $50 billion master plan to rebuild the coastline.

The settlement in principle announced Thursday includes funds that will be dedicated to coastal restoration, from replenishing bird habitats to researching the ongoing impacts of the oil spill on wildlife.

Five years after the Deepwater Horizon disaster, the recovery continues.

"You can't degrade an ecosystem for two centuries as we've been doing and then solve it all in five years," says David Muth of the National Wildlife Federation. "It's really about changing the trajectory and so much of what is critical for the Gulf Coast is how we use our fresh water, how we mix it in our estuaries. We see decline in productivity in estuaries all over the gulf so this is the opportunity to start fixing that. We know how to fix it so we just need to get to work on it."

"Now that the cards are on the table, we know what we're looking at into the future, we can figure out how we can leverage funds," says Simone Maloz of Restore or Retreat. "It's not just about today's numbers, it's about how we put it all together and really make it work."

With the new money expected from this settlement, Louisiana will have recovered more than $8 billion for coastal restoration and those tasked with protecting the coast say they have to be sure the money is spent responsibly.

Copyright 2015 WVUE. All rights reserved.