The Oil Pollution Act authorizes certain federal agencies, states, and Indian tribes—collectively known as natural resource trustees—to evaluate the impacts of oil spills and to plan and carry out restoration efforts.
After the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, federal and state agencies came together to form the Deepwater Horizon Natural Resource Damage Assessment Trustee Council. The Council studied the effects of the oil spill and continues to restore the Gulf of Mexico to the condition it would have been in if the spill had not happened.
Following settlement, the Trustees will continue to work together as a Council. They have approved standard operating procedures (PDF, 253 pages), revised in August 2021, for the long-term management, implementation, and administration of settlement funds for natural resource restoration. These procedures set the stage for a completely new phase of Gulf of Mexico restoration. The Trustees hold regular meetings and publish summary notes of those calls.
They will also coordinate as part of trustee implementation groups for defined Restoration Areas, seen below.
The Trustee Implementation Groups will develop restoration projects and plans to accomplish the significant work needed for the Gulf. Development of these projects is guided by the programmatic restoration plan finalized in 2016 as part of a legal settlement with BP for up to $8.8 billion.
The Trustees are coordinating with other restoration efforts in the Gulf as needed.
Below is a list of the federal and state agencies that make up the Trustee Council for the Deepwater Horizon oil spill: