Texas spends Gulf oil spill cash on conservation

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By RAMIT PLUSHNICK-MASTI, Associated Press

HOUSTON (AP) — Texas is the first state to confirm a deal to use settlement money from the Gulf oil spill for a coastal conservation project, paying $2 million for 80 acres of crucial habitat for endangered whooping cranes.

The state worked with a private nonprofit to quickly buy land using some of the approximately $6.5 million it got from MOEX Offshore 2007 LLC, a minority partner in the ill-fated rig that blew up in 2010, killing 11 people and causing the worst offshore spill in U.S. history.

The plan is for MOEX to give $2 million to the Texas Nature Conservancy to buy the land and donate it to Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. The private nonprofit signed the contract Tuesday.

The Associated Press received details before the deal was made public.

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