NFWF’s Gulf Environmental Benefit Fund
The U.S. Department of Justice entered into criminal plea bargain agreements with two of the responsible parties, BP and Transocean for the oil spill caused by the explosion of the Macondo exploratory well off the coast of Louisiana on April 20, 2010. As part of these agreements, BP agreed to pay $2.394 billion and Transocean agreed to pay $150 million in criminal penalties to the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF). In these plea agreements, the court charged NFWF with the proper distribution and spending of the criminal fines. To that end, NFWF has established the Gulf Environmental Benefit Fund (GEBF) to provide restoration funding for the five Gulf States.
The criminal penalties are allocated among the five states as follows: 50% to Louisiana; 14% each to Mississippi, Alabama and Florida; and 8% to Texas.
Over five years, the Fund will receive a total of $1.272 billion for barrier island and river diversion projects in Louisiana; $356 million each for natural resource projects in Alabama, Florida and Mississippi; and $203 million for similar projects in Texas.
Plea agreements require NFWF to consult with appropriate state and federal resource managers to identify projects and maximize environmental benefits. In Texas, NFWF is consulting with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD), the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) and the Texas General Land Office (GLO), as well as with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
2018 NFWF GEBF Project Solicitation
Over 200 applications were submitted in response to the 2016 RFGA. These applications were reviewed and scored by a review team consisting of four state agencies and the Office of the Governor. Commissioner Baker, in consultation with the Governor, developed a draft list of activities to be included in the draft MIP.
The draft MIP included the following federally required documents:
• A matrix providing general information on activities considered for inclusion in MIP, including costs to implement the activities and the state’s cost to manage the grants;
• A narrative describing elements of the activities considered for inclusion in the MIP, as well as general information on the review and selection process being employed;
• A map showing the location of the activities that are being considered for inclusion in the MIP; and for reference, a draft Project List of activities being considered for inclusion in the MIP.
The draft MIP was published for a 45-day public input period, which ended on June 30, 2017. Commissioner Baker, in consultation with the Governor’s Office, reviewed the 1,400 public comments received and finalized the Texas MIP. The Texas MIP was submitted on October 30, 2017 and accepted by the U.S. Treasury on December 18, 2017.
The next step in the on-going competitive process is to determine what projects will be applied for funding and ultimately which ones will receive funding through grant contracts with the TCEQ.