WASHINGTON, Aug. 16 (Xinhua) -- U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke on Monday announced 31.3 million dollars in coastal restoration and economic development grants for the state of Louisiana and the Gulf Coast.
"These grants are another sign of this administration's commitment to help the Gulf Coast's economy and environment recover in the wake of the BP oil spill," Locke said during his third visit to Louisiana since June.
The funding includes a 30.7-million-dollar restoration grant which will fund the restoration of a critical barrier headland near Port Fourchon, Louisiana.
The headland, which experiences some of the highest shoreline retreat rates in the nation, protects vital bay and wetland habitat and property from storm surge and erosion.
In addition, Locke unveiled a 600,000-dollar effort to fund the deployment of 21 Assessment and Evaluation teams to communities affected by the BP oil spill in the Gulf.
The teams will conduct in-depth analyses of critical issues faced by the impacted communities, provide recommendations, and suggest potential solutions to issues of industry migration, workforce skills, small business needs, and infrastructure access and management.
No oil has leaked into the Gulf of Mexico since July 15, when BP placed a tight-fitting cap over the broken well, which has spewed an estimated 4.9 million barrels of oil since April 20.