Coastal Restoration Funding for Texas from the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill


RESTORE The Texas Coast

Application Workshops for RESTORE Funds

Workshops to assist in completing the required application to apply for RESTORE Direct Component (Bucket 1) funds through the Request for Grant Applications (RFGA) will be held in three locations during February and March, 2016.

A total of four application workshops will be held in Corpus Christi and Houston. Below are the details for those events.

Tuesday, February 23
2:30 pm to 4:00 and 6:30 to 8:00 pm
TCEQ Regional Office/Corpus Christi
6300 Ocean Drive
Corpus Christi, Texas

Thursday, March 3
2:30 pm to 4:00 and 6:30 to 8:00 pm
Houston-Galveston Area Council
3555 Timmons
Conference Rooms B & C
Houston, Texas

In addition, Congressman Vela will host a RESTORE Act event on Thursday, February 18 from 1:30 to 4:00 pm that will include the application workshop. That event will be held at the Hilton Garden Inn, located at 7010 Padre Island in South Padre Island, Texas.

As a reminder, the total amount available for funding is approximately $56 million. Applications for RESTORE Direct Component (Bucket 1) grants must be submitted at this website no later than 5:00 pm on Friday, April 15, 2016.

Commissioner Baker Announces RESTORE Grant Applications Now Being Accepted

Applications for Texas projects for grant funding under the Direct Component (Bucket 1) of the federal RESTORE Act are now being accepted through this website until 5:00 pm on Friday, April 15, 2016.

Detailed information on the request for projects can be found in the Request for Grant Application (RFGA). The RFGA provides information on the application process, as well as eligibility requirements. The RFGA is also posted on the state’s electronic state business daily bulletin board.

The total amount available for funding under this request for applications is approximately $56 million. Direct Component grants must support projects that: restore and protect natural habitats; mitigate damage to fish and wildlife; improve state parks in coastal areas; protect against coastal floods; promote tourism and/or consumption of Gulf Coast seafood; or develop the workforce and create jobs in the coastal region.

The review and selection process is competitive and includes elements from other state and federal grant programs. The scoring criteria is based on the Priorities Document.

An initial list of selected projects will be posted for a 45-day public comment period and the final list of selected projects will be included in the Multi-year Implementation Plan required by U.S. Treasury to secure grant funds.

In addition, application workshops will be held in Houston, Corpus Christi and Brownsville. Information on dates, times and locations of the workshops will be posted on this website within the next couple of weeks.

Applicants should also acquaint themselves with the federal terms and conditions governing RESTORE Direct Component Grants.

Instructions to Complete Application for RESTORE Funding

The Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council (Council) approved the Initial Funded Priorities List (FPL) and the Spill Impact Component Rule

FUNDED PRIORITIES LIST (FPL)

The FPL was developed by the Council to implement Bucket 2 (Council-Selected) of the federal RESTORE Act. The Council-approved FPL includes environmental projects and activities directly benefiting the state of Texas. This marks the first time the Council has allocated project funds under the RESTORE Act.

The FPL allocates approximately $140 million of project funding, including approximately $26 million for six projects in Texas. Four of the six projects in Texas will be managed by the state, through the TCEQ. Those projects include: Matagorda Bay System Landscape Conservation, Bayou Greenways, Bahia Grande Coastal Corridor, and Texas Beneficial Use and Marsh Restoration.

See specific information on all the selected projects.

The projects and activities will be funded using civil penalties resulting from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon blowout and oil spill.

The Council also adopted the final rule to implement Bucket 3 (Spill Impact) of the RESTORE Act. The rule was posted for public comment through October 2015.

View the final rule.

U.S. Department of Justice Accepting Public Comment on Settlement with BP

On October 5, 2015, Texas, along with four other states and the federal government announced a settlement with BP.  The settlement, totaling more than $20 billion, resolves all claims pertaining to the 2010 Deep Water Horizon oil spill. As part of the settlement, the State of Texas expects to receive more than $800 million to restore Gulf resources with portions dedicated to the coastal economy as well as restoration projects to address damage to natural resources.

The U.S. Department of Justice has issued a Consent Decree for the proposed settlement.  The public is invited to submit written comments on the Consent Decree through December 4, 2015. See more information on the consent decree and the 60-day comment period.

Programmatic Damage Assessment & Restoration Plan
Notice of Public Meetings & Comment Period

For the past 5 years, the Deepwater Horizon natural resource trustees have been working to assess the impacts of the oil and dispersants on natural resources such as wetlands, fish, marine mammals, and birds as well as the services they provide, through the natural resource damage assessment process.

The Trustees are proposing a damage assessment and programmatic restoration plan for the Gulf of Mexico. The draft plan is based on an assessment of impacts to the Gulf’s natural resources and the services they provide following the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. The plan also provides guidance for identifying, evaluating, and selecting future restoration projects.

The Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill Draft Programmatic Damage Assessment and Restoration Plan (PDARP) and Draft Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (PEIS) is posted onlineand will be available at public meetings along the Gulf.

One of the public meetings will be held in Galveston, Texas on Tuesday, November 10, 2015 from 6:00 to 10:00 pm at the Hilton Island Resort (5400 Seawall).

In addition to verbal comments provided at public meetings, the public may submit written comments through December 4, 2015.

  • By U.S. Mail:

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
P.O. Box 49567
Atlanta, GA 30345

The draft plan allocates funds from a proposed settlement with BP of up to $8.8 billion for natural resource injuries stemming from the spill, including, $238 million that would be allocated for Texas restoration efforts.  The Trustees have proposed to accept this settlement, which would resolve BP’s liability for natural resource injuries stemming from the spill.

The draft plan identifies five goals intended to restore wildlife, habitat, water quality, and recreational activities in the Gulf. To achieve these goals, funds are allocated to 13 different restoration types.  The restoration types address a broad range of impacts at both regional and local scales. The implementation of this plan will restore wildlife and habitat and associated services such as recreational opportunities that were impacted by the Spill.  The figure below identifies the 5 restoration goals and 13 restoration types.

About RESTORE the Texas Coast

The Deepwater Horizon (DWH) oil spill began with the explosion of the Macondo exploratory well off the coast of Louisiana on April 20, 2010. The explosion killed 11 workers. The resulting blowout at the wellhead more than a mile below the surface of the Gulf of Mexico caused the largest oil spill in American history. The oil flowed into the Gulf for almost three months before the well was contained. The well discharged millions of barrels of oil. Cleanup of oil is still ongoing in some areas.

The entities responsible for the cleanup and damage from the DWH oil spill are the “responsible parties” or “RPs” under the federal Oil Pollution Act (OPA). The responsible parties are also responsible for restoring lost natural resources. For the DWH oil spill, the responsible parties are owners and operators of the Macondo oil rig, including British Petroleum (BP), MOEX, Halliburton, and Transocean.

The DWH oil spill and its aftermath created a unique set of circumstances for funding Gulf restoration projects. The funds will be paid by the parties responsible for the spill as natural resource damages, civil fines, or criminal penalties. The uncertainties and complexities of this funding and how it will be spent pose many challenges. To facilitate the public’s understanding of the various DWH funding sources the state, in consultation with federal authorities, is working cooperatively to provide the public with information about the Deepwater Horizon funding.

Texas has asserted its claims related to the DWH oil spill in federal court. These claims have been consolidated into the multi-district litigation pending in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana. Because of this ongoing litigation, the DWH funding process is ongoing and dynamic. As more information becomes available, this website will be updated to keep the public informed about how DWH funding may best be utilized to ultimately restore the Texas coast.

This website provides an opportunity for interested parties to suggest projects for consideration for funding made available to Texas as a result of the DWH oil spill.

Included in this website is information on three funding sources: NFWF/GEBF, NRDA, and the RESTORE Act. This website, along with the associated links to other websites, provides information on the different requirements for funding from each of the three sources, as well as information on the varied stages of the availability of funds. To provide the most current information, the website will be updated as needed.

A project submitted through this website will be reviewed by a working group consisting of staff from the three state agencies representing NFWF/GEBF and NRDA, along with staff representing the RESTORE Act. This working group will provide an initial review only to determine which funding sources would be the most appropriate for each submission. This process is intended to be flexible. Submitted projects may be determined to be appropriate for multiple funding sources and the working group may reassess a project’s suitability for the various funding sources as appropriate.