– The Agreement Marks Significant Progress In Maximizing Funds Coming to Florida-
Governor Rick Scott today announced that he has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Gulf Consortium to create a process to develop Florida’s State Expenditure Plan for RESTORE funding.
Governor Scott said, “We need to do everything in our power to make Florida communities impacted by the BP oil spill whole again – and I’m pleased to work with the Gulf Consortium to develop projects for the State Expenditure Plan. Development of a comprehensive and thoughtful plan will ensure that Florida moves towards environmental and economic recovery of the Gulf.”
“This agreement with the Governor provides us with the opportunity to fully coordinate the collective efforts of all levels of government to restore and protect Florida’s gulf waters,” said Grover Robinson, Escambia County Commissioner and Gulf Consortium Chairman. “The Gulf Consortium is ready to get to work on a transparent plan that will best enhance the economic and environmental recovery of our coastal communities and the state of Florida.”
The agreement lays the groundwork for the Gulf Consortium to work with Governor Scott to ensure that funding sources related to the Resources and Ecosystems Sustainability, Tourist Opportunities, and Revived Economies of the Gulf Coast States Act of 2012 (RESTORE Act) are maximized when developing a long term restoration plan for Florida. Key provisions of the Agreement established a streamlined process for review, certification by the Governor, and ultimate submission of projects and programs included in the State Expenditure Plan to the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council.
The RESTORE Act, which was passed by Congress on June 29, 2012, creates the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council, and establishes various funding categories. The RESTORE Act will be funded by Clean Water Act civil and administrative penalties paid by responsible parties from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. The Council is comprised of the five Gulf State Governors and six federal agencies. In Florida the 23 Gulf Coast Counties (Gulf Consortium) are tasked with creating the State Expenditure Plan, which can include both economic and environmental restoration projects.