NEW ORLEANS, LA – Today the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council announced their Draft “Funded Priority List” (FPL) which allocates $139.6 million towards restoration projects across the Gulf. The Council has chosen 45 projects and activities that will help restore the natural environment that was damaged by the BP oil disaster.
“Announced on the heels of the settlement with BP, these restoration projects are a representation of the significant strides decision-makers and citizens have made to meaningfully restore the Gulf ecosystem that BP’s oil damaged,” said Jordan Macha, Gulf Policy Analyst with Gulf Restoration Network. “We are pleased that in this initial round of projects the Council is showing a commitment to implementing quality restoration projects focused on the Gulf's ecosystems, setting the precedent for RESTORE dollars spent. We cannot lose this momentum in building a resilient and sustainable environment and economy.”
Released in July, the draft settlement between BP, Department of Justice and the Gulf States will funnel $5.2 billion (out of a total settlement of $18.7 billion) through the RESTORE Act, with $1.56 billion to go to the Council to carry out a restoration plan to protect and restore our natural resources. The FPL process determines how the Council’s portion of the funds are spent and reflects the vision of the Comprehensive Plan for gulf-wide recovery.
“We appreciate the Council’s watershed approach to comprehensive restoration and applaud its efforts to leverage funding wherever possible,” noted Ms. Macha. “By looking at our Gulf restoration needs in terms of watersheds, we can effectively identify key restoration areas that provide critical resilience and benefit our communities and the environment.”
Upon initial review, the following projects are examples of promising restoration initiatives:
As these funds are dispersed, it is important for Gulf residents to hold Council-members accountable to ensure meaningful restoration for our communities and environment come first. The Council has provided a 45-day comment period, ending on 28 September 2015. Public meetings will be hosted in all five Gulf States.