Jefferson County projects deserve BP funding

Published 11:40 am Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Jefferson County’s projects to rebuild the dune system along the beach and create a way for fresh water to cross under the Intracoastal Canal into the lower coastal marshes are important restoration project that deserve the funding the county is requesting from the massive BP oil spill settlement.

Texas has been awarded $788 million of the $18 billion settlement for the well blowout that belched millions of barrels of crude oil into the Gulf in 2010. Jefferson County is asking for $2.1 million of that to help with the projects that are already under way. Both the dune restoration and siphoning water from the upper marsh to the lower marsh are critical to the long-term survivability of the coastal marsh, which are valuable ecosystems as well as offering protection to the people and industry of Port Arthur from tidal surges such as occurred in Hurricane Ike.

The money from the BP settlement is supposed to be used for projects that restore coastal ecosystems, and the Jefferson County projects are exactly that. Without the dunes and the flow of fresh water the coastal erosion will continue its march inland until eventually breaking through to the Intracoastal Canal, a very important artery for coastal commerce. To protect the coast and the canal, the $2.1 million should be awarded to Jefferson County as soon as possible.

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