Resources and Ecosystems Sustainability, Tourist Opportunities, and Revived Economies of the Gulf Coast States Act of 2010 (known as the "RESTORE Act")
The RESTORE Act, which was signed into law July 6th, 2012, established a mechanism for providing funding to the Gulf region to restore ecosystems and rebuild local economies damaged by the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill. It dedicates 80% of all administrative and civil penalties paid by responsible parties to a Gulf Coast Restoration Trust Fund. It also established the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council
(the Federal Council), an independent entity comprised of governors from the five affected Gulf States’, the Secretaries from the U.S. Departments of the Interior, Commerce, Agriculture, and Homeland Security as well as the Secretary of the Army and the Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The Council is charged with developing a comprehensive plan for ecosystem restoration in the Gulf Coast (Comprehensive Plan), as well as any future revisions to the Comprehensive Plan.
The RESTORE Act divides the funds into five “buckets”:
- 35% of the funds will be divided equally among the five Gulf Coast states for ecological and economic restoration. Spending of these funds will be done according to state expenditure plans which require Department of Treasury approval.
- Eligible activities include: restoration and protection of natural resources; mitigation of damage to natural resources; workforce development and job creation; improvements to state parks; infrastructure projects, including ports; coastal flood protection; planning assistance; administrative costs; and promotion of tourism and Gulf seafood.
- 30% of the funds plus interest will be managed by the Federal Council for ecosystem restoration under the Comprehensive Plan.
- 30% of the funds will be divided among the Gulf Coast states according to a formula to implement state expenditure plans. State expenditure plans require approval of the Federal Council and must be consistent with the Comprehensive plan. The formula for these funds 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
- 2.5% of the funds plus interest are allocated to the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Science, Observation, Monitoring and Technology Program within the Department of Commerce’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). This program will conduct marine and estuarine research, ecosystem monitoring and ocean observation, data collection and stock assessments, and cooperative research.
- 2.5% of the funds plus interest are allocated to the states for Centers of Excellence Research Grants Program. Each Center of Excellence shall focus on science, technology, and monitoring in at least 1 of the following disciplines: coastal and delta system 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.
To date, a settlement totaling 1 billion dollars of Clean Water Act civil claims against Transocean Deepwater Inc. has been reached. Eighty percent of this, or $800 million, plus interest, will be deposited in the Trust Fund within the next two years. Additional funding is dependent upon either a settlement or a judgment of civil and administrative claims against other parties responsible for the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.
Read RESTORE Act (pdf)
Read Summary of RESTORE Act (pdf)
Read RESTORE Act Funding Distribution (pdf)