The RESTORE Act of 2012
Levy County, Florida
The 2010 Gulf oil disaster was the latest assault on the region’s ecosystems after years of degradation from human impacts and natural disasters. The continued environmental deterioration of the Gulf Coast poses a growing threat to ecosystems that support not only the regional communities and cultures, but also our nation’s most critical energy, shipping, tourism, commercial seafood, and other industries.
The Senate and House passed legislation and, on July 6, 2012, the President signed into law the Federal Resources and Ecosystems Sustainability, Tourist Opportunities, and Revived Economies of the Gulf Coast States Act of 2012 (RESTORE Act), which holds the parties responsible for the Gulf oil disaster accountable for restoring the Gulf. By investing fines owed by BP and the other parties responsible for the Gulf oil spill into the Gulf region, we can start to heal the economies, the environments, and the communities that depend on a healthy Gulf.
The RESTORE Act created a specific funding allocation to the effected states and, in particular, a specific designation to the counties effected in Florida. Levy County has been authorized as one of 23 (8 Disproportionately Affected and 15 Non-Disproportionately Impacted, Levy County is Non-Disproportionately Impacted) Florida counties to receive and apply for funds related to civil and administrative penalties imposed under the federal Clean Water Act and paid by responsible parties for the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. In response, the Levy County Board of County Commissioners has formed a local citizen’s advisory board, the Levy County RESTORE Act Advisory Committee. A portion of the penalties under the RESTORE Act will come directly to Levy County (Direct Component, Pot 1), and other portions may be available for projects that may affect the County through the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council (Comprehensive Plan Component, Pot 2) and through the Gulf Coast Consortium (Spill Impact Component, Pot 3).
The Board of County Commissioners of Levy County created and appointed the Levy County RESTORE Act Advisory Committee, to assist the Board on RESTORE Act issues by reviewing applications for Direct Component (Pot 1) and Spill Impact Component (Pot 3) RESTORE Act projects, conducting public meetings to obtain citizen input, advising the Board on projects, monitoring Direct Component (Pot 1) and Spill Impact Component (Pot 3) projects that may be approved for funding, and assisting in the development of a multiyear plan (MYIP) and State Expenditure Plan (SEP) for the County’s use of RESTORE Act funds. The funding protocol and specific utilization of these funds is dictated under Federal Law and is based in environmental and economic restoration, sustainability, and resilience.
The RESTORE Act Committee meets once a month, usually on a Tuesday at 3 p.m. at the LevyCounty Courthouse, CountyCommissioners' Meeting Room located at 355 South Court Street in Bronson, Florida. All meeting notices are posted at Levycounty.org Public Notice – RESTORE Act Advisory Committee Meeting link.
Direct Component (Pot 1)
Eligible MYIP (Multi Year Implementation Plan) Activities
The RESTORE Act/Treasury provides the scope of activities eligible for funding under the Direct Component. As described in the Act, these activities can include:
· Restoration and protection of the natural resources, ecosystem, fisheries, marine, and wildlife habitats, beaches, and coastal wetlands of the Gulf Region
· Mitigating damage and restoration of fish, wildlife, and natural resources
· Implementing a federally approved marine or coastal conservation management plan
· Promotion of tourism in the Gulf Region, including recreational fishing
· Promotion of consumption of seafood harvested from the Gulf Coast region
· Infrastructure projects benefiting the economy or the ecological resources, including port infrastructure
· Work force development and job creation
· Improving state parks in the coastal areas affected by the Spill
· Planning Assistance
· Coastal flood protection and related infrastructure
· Administrative costs of complying with the Act (limited to 3%)
(Note: US Treasury rules, when they are promulgated, may impose additional criteria, details, and clarifications.)
Council Selected Restoration Component (Pot2)
Council Selected Restoration Component or Pot 2 (30%) is controlled by the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council. The projects to be considered for possible funding must be nominated by the governor of one of the five Gulf States (Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas) or one of the six federal entities on the Council. The funds will focus on the environment and projects related to the environment with guidance from the Council’s Comprehensive Plan.
For more information on submitting a project directly to DEP for POT 2 Funding, please click here.
DEP Project Application
Spill Impact Component (Pot 3)
Eligible SEP (State Expenditure Plan) Activities
The RESTORE Act provides the scope of activities eligible for funding under the Spill Impact Component. As described in the Act, these activities can include:
- Restoration and protection of the natural resources, ecosystems, fisheries, marine and wildlife habitats, beaches, and coastal wetlands of the Gulf Coast region.
- Mitigation of damage to fish, wildlife, and natural resources.
- Implementation of a federally approved marine, coastal, or comprehensive conservation management plan, including fisheries monitoring.
- Workforce development and job creation.
- Improvements to or on State parks located in coastal areas affected by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.
- Infrastructure projects benefitting the economy or ecosystem resources, including port infrastructure.
- Coastal flood protection and related infrastructure.
- Planning assistance.
- Administrative costs of complying with the Act.
- Promotion of tourism in the Gulf Coast region, including recreational fishing.
- Promotion of the consumption of seafood harvested from the Gulf Coast region.
The Public Comment link for the Draft Stand Up SEP in now open. This portal will remain open for 45 days.
(Public Comment Period for Draft Stand Up State Expenditure Plan runs through January 12, 2018)
NOAA Science Program (Pot 4)
2.5% of the RESTORE Act funds plus 25% of the interest will go to a NOAA-led program that funds research, observation, and monitoring to support the long term sustainability of the Gulf ecosystems and fisheries. In June 2016, the program announced a new funding opportunity, focused on living coastal and marine resources and their habitats.
Centers of Excellence (Pot 5)
2.5 % of RESTORE Act funds plus 25% of the interest will go to the Gulf states in equal amounts to establish centers of excellence to conduct research on the Gulf Coast Region. All Gulf States have selected their Centers of Excellence.
· Alabama- Alabama Gulf Coast Recovery Council (AGCRC)
· Florida- Florida Institute of Oceanography
· Louisiana- The Water Institute of the Gulf
· Mississippi- Mississippi Based RESTORE Act Center of Excellence
· Texas- University of Houston and Texas A & M University
Other sites to visit for additional information
Levy County RESTORE Act Advisory Committee
The RESTORE Act Advisory Committee (RAC) consists of 9 members appointed by the Board of County Commissioners (BOCC):
Christ Cowart, School Board Representative, Chairman
John Meeks, Board of County Commissioners, Vice-Chairman
David Pieklik, Economic Development Representative
Dr. Rayanne Giddis- Higher Education Institution Representative
Leslie Sturmer, Aquaculture Representative
Dennis Voyles-Tourism Industry Representative
Jolie Davis, Citizen Representative
Jack Schofield, Citizen Representative
Dr. Richard Streeter, Citizen Representative
Members are appointed for 1 year (first four members) or two years (last five members) for the first term and for two years following that so that memberships are staggered. All members are eligible for reappointment.