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“The Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council” Drafts Proposal For $183 Million In Funding

World Affairs – Environment

Open Eyes Opinion {source: US/DOC]

U.S. Gulf Coast

Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council Proposes $183 Million to Help Restore Gulf Coast

 

 

 

The Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council, chaired by U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker, today released the draft Initial Funded Priorities List (FPL) totaling approximately $183 million.

Using funds from the settlement with Transocean Deepwater Inc. for initial investments, the Council is seeking to address critical needs of ten key watersheds across the Gulf to help restore the region’s ecosystem and strengthen economic resilience.

Projects and programs in the draft list will help to revitalize the region through skills training for local communities, improvements in water quality, and habitat restoration critical to juvenile fish and endangered birds and sea turtles.

“The Council is committed to working with Gulf communities and partners to invest in actions and projects that will ensure the long-term environmental health and economic prosperity of the Gulf Coast region,” said Secretary Pritzker, Chairperson of the Gulf Restoration Council. “We look forward to hearing from the community on prioritizing the proposed $183 million investment to restore the natural ecosystem, reinvigorate economies, create jobs, and rebuild the environment for generations to come.”

The draft list leverages over $1.2 billion in additional restoration investments across the region.  Commerce agencies to include the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the Economic Development Administration, and the Minority Business Development Agency have proposed projects included in the draft list to:

  • Support local communities through workforce development and skills training in restoration related industries;
  • Restore over 2,200 acres of critical wetlands in Florida, Alabama, and Texas that would improve water quality and restore habitat; and
  • Establish monitoring and data standards to support science-based decision-making and evaluate restoration progress across the entire Gulf region.

The draft FPL is available for public and tribal review and comment through Sept. 28, 2015. The Council will host a series of public meetings across the Gulf Coast to discuss the draft FPL and seek public comment.

Full meeting details and the draft FPL can be found on the Council’s website at www.RestoreTheGulf.gov. The public is encouraged to provide comments online at www.RestoreTheGulf.gov (preferred method); by mail to Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council, Attention: Draft FPL Comments, Hale Boggs Federal Building, 500 Poydras Street, Suite 1117, New Orleans, LA 70130; by e-mail to draftfplcomments@restorethegulf.gov; or in person during formal public comment periods at any of the public meetings.

Background

The Resources and Ecosystems Sustainability, Tourist Opportunities, and Revived Economies of the Gulf Coast Act of 2012 (RESTORE Act) established the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council (Council) and the Gulf Coast Restoration Trust Fund (Trust Fund), and dedicates 80 percent of Clean Water Act penalties resulting from theDeepwater Horizon oil spill to the Trust Fund, for restoration projects in the Gulf Coast region.

The Council is responsible for administering 60 percent of the total funding allocated from the Trust Fund: 30 percent (plus interest) under the Council-Selected Restoration Component and 30 percent under the Spill Impact Component.

The Council is chaired by the U.S. Secretary of Commerce, and members include the Governors of the States of Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas, as well as the Secretaries of the U.S. Departments of Agriculture, Homeland Security, the Army and the Interior, and the Administrator for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

The Council is responsible for helping to restore the ecosystems and economies of the Gulf Coast region by developing and overseeing implementation of a Comprehensive Plan and carrying out other responsibilities. Read more about the Comprehensive Plan, the RESTORE Act and the Council at www.RestoreTheGulf.gov.

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[photo credits: “Fiddler Crab Gulf Coast” by I, Junglecat. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons – https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Fiddler_Crab_Gulf_Coast.jpg#/media/File:Fiddler_Crab_Gulf_Coast.jpg]

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