One Year After RESTORE

July marks the one-year anniversary of the passage of the RESTORE Act… time really flies when you are busy planning!!  Long before RESTORE’s passage in 2012, Restore or Retreat has been involved in many, many planning conversations, so we wanted to be sure to share some facts related to this critical piece of legislation which will greatly influence the future of restoration in Louisiana.

Coastal Louisiana, specifically the Bayou Region, will be greatly impacted:  Each of the five Gulf Coast states will receive an equal share 35 percent of the responsible parties’ Clean Water Act fines for environmental restoration, workforce development, or essential infrastructure projects.  In Louisiana, 30 percent of Louisiana’s share will go directly to coastal parishes like Lafourche and Terrebonne to ensure locally significant projects have a viable funding source.

Not if, but when: Transocean has already settled their Clean Water Act fines to the tune of $1 billion.   Under the RESTORE Act, $800 million of those funds will be going to Gulf Coast.  In addition to the share of 35 percent mentioned above, 30 percent will also be directed to the federal Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council, 30 percent more headed to Gulf States based on impact, and 5 percent dedicated to science.  The largest fine amount is still expected, however, through the settlement of BP’s Clean Water Act fines.

More post-spill funding will enhance RESTORE’s effects:  BP has settled criminal fines totaling $4.5 billion, and in keeping with the spirit of the RESTORE Act, the Justice Department is sending nearly $2.4 billion of those fines to the Gulf Coast through the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, or NFWF.  Specifically, Louisiana will receive $1.2 billion for barrier islands and freshwater diversions from the Atchafalaya and Mississippi Rivers.  Also ongoing is the Natural Resource Damage Assessment process, which recently announced over $300 million dedicated to Louisiana for barrier islands, an oyster hatchery and a marsh creation project.

These are just a snippet of the many, many moving parts of the post-spill funding planning and implementation process. For all the current news and happenings, please visit our new and improved website www.restoreorretreat.org .  Or, if you are feeling “social,”  follow us on Twitter (@restoreretreat) or “like” us on Facebook!

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