Commissioner Baker Announces Submission of Texas Multi-Year Implementation Plan
In his capacity as the Governor’s appointee to perform RESTORE-related duties for Texas, TCEQ Commissioner Baker has submitted the Multi-Year Implementation Plan (MIP) for the State of Texas to U.S. Department of Treasury (Treasury). This submission represents the next step in the competitive process to secure RESTORE funds under the Direct Component (Bucket 1) program.
In response to the Deepwater Horizon (DWH) oil spill, the federal RESTORE Act was signed into law in 2012. The RESTORE Act establishes a regional approach to restore the long-term environmental health of the Gulf Coast region and to facilitate its economic development.
The RESTORE Act dedicates 80% of any civil and administrative penalties paid under the Clean Water Act by responsible parties in connection with the DWH oil spill. Those funds are deposited to the federal Gulf Coast Restoration Trust Fund (RESTORE Trust Fund) to be used for ecosystem restoration, economic recovery, and tourism promotion in the Gulf Coast region. These funds are available to the Gulf Coast area, including the state of Texas.
The RESTORE Act establishes several grant programs to benefit the Gulf Coast region. To acquire federal RESTORE funds under the Direct Component (Bucket 1) section of the RESTORE Act, the state is required to develop a MIP that includes specific activities to be implemented in the coastal area.
The submitted MIP, which includes a list of specific activities/projects, complies with the RESTORE Act requirement that activities directly benefit the coastal area. The MIP was developed as part of a competitive process that began with the publication of a Request for Grant Applications (RFGA) and included an opportunity for the public to comment on a draft project list.
Twenty-six projects are included in the MIP with an estimated cost of $114.2 million. These projects directly affect 12 coastal counties, with three conducting coast-wide activities.
Due to ongoing payments into the federal RESTORE Trust Fund, at this time, approximately $85.6 million is available to Texas under the Bucket 1 program. Since the estimated cost of projects in the MIP exceeds current available funds, it is important to note that the eligible projects/activities listed in the matrix section of the MIP is not intended as a ranking that determines the order of when funds will be requested. Rather, once the MIP has been accepted by Treasury, Commissioner Baker will work with the Office of the Governor to decide which federal applications will be submitted to Treasury. Those decisions will be based on available funding and in accordance with all applicable state law governing sub-awards. As more funds become available, additional applications for projects included in the accepted MIP can be advanced.
Any questions concerning the Bucket 1/MIP process discussed above should be directed to the TCEQ’s Procurement and Contracts section in the Office of Administrative Services at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill Texas Trustees Release Restoration Plan for Texas Gulf Coast
The Texas Trustee Implementation Group (TIG) has released its first restoration plan, selecting 13 restoration projects to compensate for injuries to natural resources caused by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. The Texas Trustee Implementation Group Final 2017 Restoration Plan and Environmental Assessment: Restoration of Wetlands, Coastal, and Nearshore Habitats; and Oysters was published on October 18, 2017 and prioritizes restoration projects for oysters and wetlands, coastal, and nearshore habitats with a total estimated cost of $45,761,000. The final restoration plan reflects revisions to the draft plan resulting from public comments and continuing project development by the Texas TIG. View the restoration plan.
For additional information, read more about NRDA.
UPDATE: Council-Selected Bucket 2 Planning Grant Proposal
The RESTORE Council accepted public comments through August 14, 2017 on the proposal to provide limited RESTORE funds for the Council members (including Texas) to support the Comprehensive Plan commitments and identify future investments that will maximize the ability to achieve Gulf-wide restoration goals. The proposed funds would provide Council members with funding to support collaboration and leveraging that will produce the greatest on-the-ground restoration results possible.
The RESTORE Council is currently reviewing comments received and preparing the final proposal for adoption. Adoption is now expected by the end of 2017. Information on the proposed plan can be found at www.RestoreTheGulf.gov.