Gov. Rick Scott and the Gulf Consortium – a group comprising 23 Gulf Coast counties – have reached a deal for using recovery funds related to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, the governor’s office announced.
The governor’s office reports that the agreement lays the groundwork to ensure that funding sources related to the RESTORE Act are maximized when developing a long-term restoration plan for Florida.
Scott said in a news release that development of a comprehensive plan will ensure that Florida moves toward environmental and economic recovery of the Gulf.
“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,” Scott said.
Escambia County Commissioner and Gulf Consortium Chairman Grover Robinson said in a release that the agreement provides officials with the opportunity to coordinate all levels of government to restore and protect Florida’s gulf waters.
“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,” Robinson said.
The Resources and Ecosystems Sustainability, Tourist Opportunities, and Revived Economies of the Gulf Coast States Act of 2012 was passed by Congress last summer. It creates the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council – which includes the five Gulf-state governors and six federal agencies – 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.
Florida’s Gulf Consortium is tasked with creating the State Expenditure Plan, which can include both economic and environmental restoration projects.