HOUSTON, Aug. 2 (Xinhua) -- About 9,000 rig workers idled by the U.S. government's deepwater drilling ban will be eligible for grants from a 100-million-U.S.-dollar BP fund, the charity organization managing the fund said Monday.
The Gulf Coast Restoration and Protection Foundation, a supporting organization under the Baton Rouge Area Foundation, the largest community foundation on the Gulf Coast, said Monday it will take applications from Sept. 1 to Sept. 30 from rig workers affected by the federal moratorium on deepwater drilling.
"We recognize the great importance of moving quickly and fairly to make hardship grants to rig workers who are suffering financially under this moratorium," said John G. Davies, CEO and president of the Baton Rouge Area Foundation.
Under the agreement with BP, grants are limited to the estimated 9,000 people working on the 33 deepwater rigs idled by the drilling moratorium imposed by the Obama administration.
U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar initially imposed a 6-month moratorium on deepwater drilling after the April 20 explosion on BP-leased Deepwater Horizon drilling rig in the Gulf of Mexico which left 11 workers dead and unleashed the worst spill in U.S. history.
A U.S. federal judge granted a temporary injunction against the moratorium on June 22, prompting Salazar to impose another ban on July 12 that was based on drilling configurations and technologies instead of water depths.