FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Q. What is the RESTORE Act and what does it do?
A. The RESTORE Act dedicates 80 percent of Clean Water Act administrative and civil penalties paid to the United States by responsible parties after July 6, 2012 in connection with the Deepwater Horizon oil spill to the Gulf Region for ecological and economic recovery efforts. The money is set aside in a Trust Fund overseen by the U.S. Treasury Department. Projects and programs funded through the RESTORE Act will generate investments in economic development, tourism promotion, and science-based natural resource restoration in the Gulf Coast states impacted by the spill - Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas.
Q. How will the money be spent?
A. The RESTORE Act divides the funds into five “buckets” and sets parameters for how these funds will be spent:
In Alabama, projects for these funds will be determined by the Alabama Gulf Coast Recovery Council (AGCRC) and administered by the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (ADCNR). Under the Act, the U.S. Department of Treasury has authority over final approval of expenditures.
- 35% of the funds are divided equally among the five Gulf Coast states for ecological and economic restoration. Eligible activities include:
- restoration and protection of natural resources;
- mitigation of damage to natural resources;
- workforce development and job creation;
- improvements to state parks;
- infrastucture projects, including ports;
- coastal flood protection and related infrastructure
- planning assistance;
- administrative costs;
- promotion of tourism in the Gulf Coast region; and
- promotion of the consumption of seafood harvested from the Gulf Coast region.
- 30% of the funds will be administered for restoration and protection according to the Comprehensive Plan developed by the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council (Federal Council).
- 30% of the funds are dedicated to the Gulf Coast states based on a formula. This formula will be based on the number of miles of shoreline that experienced oiling, the distance from the Deepwater Horizon mobile drilling unit at the time of the explosion, and the average population as of the 2010 Census. Each state will be required to submit expenditure plans to the Federal Council for approval prior to funding projects.
- 2.5% of the funds are dedicated to the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Science, Observation, Monitoring and Technology Program. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) will establish a Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration, Science, Observation, Monitoring and Technology Program for marine and estuarine research, ecosystem monitoring and ocean observation, data collection and stock assessments, and cooperative research.
- 2.5% of the funds are dedicated to the Centers of Excellence Research Grants Program. The Centers of Excellence Research Grants funding is distributed through the States to nongovernmental entities to establish centers of excellence that will focus on the following disciplines: coastal and deltaic sustainability; restoration and protection; fisheries and wildlife ecosystem research and monitoring; offshore energy development; sustainable and resilient growth; and comprehensive observation, monitoring and mapping in the Gulf.
Q. What is the Alabama Gulf Coast Recovery Council (AGCRC)?
A. The Alabama Council was established under the Act to determine projects for two of the five “buckets” of funding. The Alabama Council has jurisdiction over “Bucket 1” which is referred to as the Direct Component funding (35% of the total which is split evenly between each state) and “Bucket 3” which is referred to as the Spill Impact Component funding (30% of the total in which the state’s portion will be determined by a formula based on such factors as proximity to the DWH well head and miles of shore line). The state will be required to submit expenditure plans to the Federal Council for approval prior to funding projects under “Bucket 3”. The Federal Council has responsibility over “Bucket 2” (30% of the total funds which will be administered for restoration and protection according to the Federal Council’s Comprehensive Plan).
Q. How does the Alabama Council decision-making process work?
A. According to the Act, all actions of the Alabama Council shall be authorized by majority vote of the Members.
Q. Is there an end date on the RESTORE Act? Is there a deadline by which all funds under the purview of the Alabama Council need to be expended?
A. Under the provisions of the Act, the Alabama RESTORE Council will terminate once all the funds have been spent, and there is no expiration date on the availability of funds.
Q. Who will be responsible for oversight to make sure the funds are spent correctly?
A. As directed by the Act, the U.S. Treasury is developing regulations for the administration and oversight of RESTORE Act funding. These regulations will include Trust Fund expenditure processes and financial tracking requirements.
Q. How will the interest generated by the Trust Fund be used?
A. The RESTORE Act stipulates that the interest from the Trust Fund must be used to supplement the funds in the Gulf. Under the law, fifty percent of the interest will be utilized by the Federal Council and the remaining fifty percent will be divided evenly between the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Science, Observation, Monitoring and Technology Program and the Center of Excellence program.
Q. Will the Alabama Council create a Citizens’ Advisory Board?
A. Rather than create a Citizens’ Advisory Board which could potentially prevent and/or artificially limit the range of individuals or groups from the community who can provide input, there will be multiple steps throughout the process where the public will have an opportunity to participate and provide comments.
Q. Will the AGCRC accept project applications before any funds become available?
A. Although there is uncertainty with respect to a potential settlement or full-blown trial, which will determine the timing of any funds flowing to Alabama, the AGCRC plans to move forward with accepting project applications once the U.S. Treasury has finalized their regulations.
Q. Where can one get information on other oil spill-related efforts under coordination by the State of Alabama? ?