US officials have approved plans to spend around $627 million (£392m) in 44 projects designed to help Gulf Coast communities recover from the 2010 oil spill.
It is by far the largest instalment of money for projects aimed at reversing the damage of BP’s Deepwater Horizon incident, which killed 10 people and spewed oil for almost three months into waters that touch the shores of five states.
The approved projects will restore barrier islands, shorelines, dunes, underwater grasses and oyster beds, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) said.
They will be funded through the $1 billion (£0.6bn) provided by BP as part of the 2011 Framework Agreement on early restoration.
Kathryn D. Sullivan, Under Secretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and NOAA administrator said: “Preserving, protecting and restoring natural resources is an integral part of our efforts to foster resilience in communities nationwide, including those affected by the Deep Water Horizon oil spill.
“These projects reflect an earnest commitment to the Gulf and will enhance the region’s economic, social and ecological resilience in the future.”
Last month BP was found to be “grossly negligent”, which the oil giant “strongly disagreed” with and said it would “immediately appeal” to the US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.