The RESTORE Act allocates 80 percent of the amount of any Clean Water Act fines from the 2010 BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill to the Gulf Coast. Under RESTORE, the fines are divided into several different sources of funding, with different permissible uses and various methods for approving projects. Importantly, 75 percent of Florida's allocation will come directly to the eight disproportionately impacted panhandle counties which include Santa Rosa, Escambia, Okaloosa, Walton, Bay, Gulf, Franklin and Wakulla counties.
Several parties are involved with the various settlements resulting from the Deepwater Horizon blowout, explosion, oil spill and response. To date, MOEX has settled all of its civil liability while Transocean will pay $1 billion in partial Clean Water Act civil penalties, which will be the first funds to be dispersed through the formula outlined in the RESTORE Act. On July 2, 2015, a settlement was reached between BP and Gulf States including $5.5 billion in Clean Water Act civil penalties which will be paid out over 15 years. Click here to see a flow chart of oil spill funds in Florida.
The total funding available for eligible activities under the Direct Component will depend on the Trust Fund balance and any adjustment due to sequestration. Approximately $4 million is currently available to Santa Rosa County in the first dollars offered through the RESTORE Act associated with the Transocean Civil Penalty. An additional $24 million will be made available to Santa Rosa County over the next 15 years.
On Aug. 16, 2012 Santa Rosa County Commissioners passed a resolution which established the frame work for the county's local RESTORE council. This council is mandated by the RESTORE Act, and is tasked with reviewing projects to determine if they are eligible. The local council will make recommendations to the Santa Rosa County Board of Commissioners and is the first venue for the public to participate in the selection process for RESTORE Act projects.
The Santa Rosa RESTORE Council is made up of 11 members. Five are appointed by the commission with an expertise in a pertinent area such as the environment, economic development or tourism:
District 1 - Cal Bodenstein
District 2 - Carole Tebay
District 3 - Donna Tucker
District 4 - Rob Williamson
District 5 - Dave Robau
City of Milton - Brian Watkins
City of Gulf Breeze - Edwin Eddy
Town of Jay - Shon Owens
Navarre Beach Chamber - Judy Morehead
Commission Designee - Lane Lynchard
Current Commission Chairman - District 3 Don Salter
On Oct. 14, 2014, the Department of Treasury RESTORE Act interim final rule became effective. In addition, the treasury released a guidance document and for processing grant funds associated with the direct component. The direct component funds are funds that will be received by Santa Rosa County directly from treasury based upon approval of Santa Rosa County's multiyear plan and corresponding grant requests. The LRC is in the process of reviewing proposals for possible inclusion in a Multi-year Implementation Plan.
Presentations to the Local RESTORE Council
The LRC is not currently scheduling formal presentations, however members of the public are always welcome to make a statement during the public comment period at the end of each LRC meeting.
Fifty-six projects totaling $54.52 million were submitted by April 3 for potential inclusion in Santa Rosa County’s RESTORE funding multi-year implementation plan. In this first round of funding, approximately $4.3 million is available to Santa Rosa County through RESTORE Act direct component dollars.
Click here to see the list of project applications received. Please note that the numbering does not indicate priority.
All proposals were scored and ranked by technical teams in the following public meetings:
Projects submitted under multiple scoring categories were scored and ranked by the technical team for each category. For example, a project submitted under the environment and tourism categories was reviewed by a technical team on May 11 at 2 p.m. and May 18 at 1 p.m.
The results of the ranking were made available at the Monday, June 8, 1 p.m. regular meeting of the Santa Rosa County Local RESTORE Council. The council reviewed the proposals and technical team rankings, and began the process of developing a the multi-year implementation plan by selecting 15 projects for inclusion in the draft plan. The draft plan was written by staff and presented to the LRC at the September 14 meeting. The LRC approved advancement of the draft plan to the Board of Commissioners at this meeting.
The RESTORE Act requires Santa Rosa County to create a multi-year implementation plan that is submitted to the U.S. Treasury Department for review and approval. Projects included in the plan must address one or more of the RESTORE Act eligible activities:
Restoration and protection of natural resources
Mitigation of damage to natural resources
Implementation of a federally approved marine or coastal management plan
Workforce development and job creation
Improving state parks affected by the spill
Infrastructure projects benefitting the economy or ecological resources
Flood protection and infrastructure
Promotion of tourism
Promotion of Gulf seafood consumption
Santa Rosa County has grouped these eligible activities into four scoring categories – environment, economic (with sub categories of job creation and workforce development), infrastructure and tourism.
This initial release of funding is a small part of an estimated $24 million Santa Rosa County is expected to receive. The funding for the county’s multi-year plan, called the direct component, is just one of the many sources of funding associated with the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Projects not funded in this cycle will be eligible to apply for future funding.
The following resources are provided to assist you in researching and developing project proposals.
Click on each link to access the appropriate document:
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