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Proposed Settlement for Bouchard #120 Spill: Comment Period Open

November 1, 2017

Buzzard's Bay Birds Benefit

The Department of Justice filed for final settlement on October 19, 2017, for the oil spill caused by Barge Bouchard #120 in 2003. Approximately 98,000 gallons of # 6 bunker C, a grade of oil that is particularly viscous and toxic, was spilled into Buzzards Bay, between Massachusetts and Rhode Island. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, NOAA, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and the State of Rhode Island are Trustees in this final settlement.

The spill caused significant impacts, oiling more than 100 miles of shoreline, injuring salt marshes, closing shellfish beds for up to 6 months, and killing thousands of coastal birds. More than 20 species of adult birds and their offspring were oiled or killed.

In the initial settlement, Bouchard previously paid the federal and state natural resources Trustees more than $6 million to resolve the Trustees’ claims for injuries to shoreline and aquatic resources, coastal recreational uses, and piping plover. Restoration and management of piping plover, a threatened coastal bird was funded between 2014 and 2017.. This second Consent Decree secures $13 million to compensate for natural resource injuries to loons, sea ducks and other migratory birds and their habitat, bringing the total combined natural resource damages recovery to over $19 million.

A public comment period is open from October 26 through November 27, 2017. The proposed Consent Decree and related documents can be downloaded at this web page. Comments can be submitted by mail or email to USDOJ; instructions can be found here.

Press release from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announcing proposed settlement: Companies to pay more than $13 million for natural resource damages from Buzzards Bay oil spill .

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