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$36.8 Million to Help with Restoration after San Francisco Bay Oil Spill

September 27, 2011

Last week, we reached a $36.8 million settlement for the Cosco Busan oil spill in California. This marks the largest oil spill settlement NOAA has ever been a part of under the Oil Pollution Act. The settlement, reached with the owners of the ship, addresses the impacts from the Cosco Busan oil spill in San Francisco Bay. The spill occurred when the M/V Cosco Busan struck the Bay Bridge in 2007, spilling 53,000 gallons of fuel oil into the Bay.

The oil killed thousands of birds, impacted the Bay’s 2008 herring spawn, spoiled miles of shoreline habitat, and closed the Bay and area beaches to recreation and fishing. The settlement will provide full restoration for the impacted natural resources, as well as compensation for the lost human use of those resources. That means nearly $19 million of the settlement will pay for lost use of the Bay’s shorelines, beaches, parks, and fishing areas.

“Numerous NOAA scientists and experts worked on this oil spill—playing a critical role before, during, and after this incident,” said Margaret Spring, NOAA chief of staff. “In tough economic times we must remember that 69 million jobs are associated with healthy oceans and coasts. This settlement today once again emphatically states the importance of these jobs.”

NOAA and the other state and federal agencies have drafted a plan for what restoration projects should be implemented with the settlement funds. About $5 million will be used to fund bird restoration, $4 million for habitat restoration, $2.5 million for fish and eelgrass restoration, and $18.8 million for recreational use improvements.

As part of the settlement, NOAA is asking for public comment on the plan. Read more about the spill and comment on the draft plan.