The Deepwater Horizon oil spill in 2010 was one of the largest environmental disasters in the United States, causing extensive damage to marine life and wildlife habitats along the Gulf Coast. As a subcontractor to Industrial Economics, Inc., SWCA assisted the lead agency, the U.S Department of the Interior (DOI), along with the other Federal Trustees, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the five State Trustees (Louisiana, Alabama, Florida, Texas, and Mississippi) in preparing the Deepwater Horizon Early Restoration Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (PEIS) to assess environmental impacts from the disaster. Because early restoration funds were intended to result in restoration projects being implemented even though settlement negotiations and the criminal case were still ongoing, the PEIS was prepared in a very short timeframe. DOI issued the Notice of Intent in June 2013 and the Draft PEIS was made public in December 2013.
The PEIS examined the effects of restoration and recreation use on projects and the expenditure of over $600 million dollars from the implementation of four alternatives on a programmatic level. The PEIS Alternatives were unique in that Alternative 4 (Preferred Alternative) included environmental reviews (mini-EAs) for 44 proposed restoration projects to ensure they were consistent with the analysis and bounded impacts contained within the Programmatic portion of the same document. SWCA prepared 26 of the State of Florida mini-EAs included in Alternative 4 in just over three weeks. SWCA was the lead author for the Environmental Consequences and Cumulative Effect sections of the PEIS. SWCA attended and participated in multiple days-long writing workshops where all Federal, State Trustees, and subject matter experts were present to review and edit each PEIS section. SWCA also assisted in the preparation of responses to more than 1,100 public comments received on the Draft PEIS and preparation of the Final PEIS, for which the Record of Decision was issued in October 2014.