Government

Gulf Spill Funds Closer to Being Distributed

By: Kevin Derby | Posted: August 14, 2014 3:55 AM
Bill Nelson and Marco Rubio

Bill Nelson and Marco Rubio

More than four years after the Gulf oil spill, the U.S. Treasury Department released information for how the state governments of  Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas and local governments can apply for federal funds authorized under the Resources and Ecosystem Sustainability, Tourist Opportunities, and Revived Economies of the Gulf Coast States (RESTORE) Act to help rebuild their economies and restore the environment impacted by the disaster.

“Treasury today took another important step to help the communities, ecosystems, and people of the Gulf Coast as they continue to recover from the largest offshore oil spill in U.S. history,” said Assistant U.S. Treasury Secretary David Lebryk on Wednesday. “With this action, affected states and municipalities can now begin the process of applying for grants from the Gulf Coast Restoration Trust Fund.”

The Treasury announced on Wednesday that 35 percent of the funds, which would come from fines on BP and other companies with estimates ranging wildly from $5 billion to $20 billion, in the Gulf Coast Restoration Trust Fund would be divided between the five states for economic and environmental projects. The funds headed to Florida will be divided among 23 counties impacted by the oil spill. The Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council, which is made up of six federal agencies and the five state governments, will use 30 percent of the funds for yet-to-be-determined projects to help restore the region, while another 30 percent will go to fund state expenditures. The rest of the funds will go to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and for research centers in the region.

U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., explained why the decision was important. “You couldn’t spend the BP oil fines until we had these rules,” said Nelson on Wednesday. “Now that we have them, we need to get the money flowing to the affected communities.”

U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., was less enthusiastic and said President Barack Obama‘s team dragged their feet on the matter.

“Without a rule, Gulf states like Florida have been held back from being made whole again after the damage inflicted by the Deepwater Horizon disaster,” said Rubio. “It’s unacceptable that it’s taken the Obama administration this long to issue a rule that people actually need and that is 20 months late.

“However, with rules like this, the devil is always in the details, so I will be examining it closely and consulting with Florida stakeholders to ensure our people are not being short-changed as we continue implementation of the act,” Rubio noted.



Reach Kevin Derby at kderby@sunshinestatenews.com or follow him on Twitter: @KevinDerbySSN

Comments (3)

C Breeze
9:03AM AUG 14TH 2014
5 to 20 billion dollars of "BP fines" distributed as FEDERAL government "largesse" to FIVE States translates to 1 to 5 billion dollars each. NOW, Florida's share will be divided amongst 23 Counties: which translates to about 217 Million dollars each ! We SELL OUR SOULS to the Federal Government "largesse" just prior to EACH election cycle for 'handouts & crumbs" and we KEEP TAKING THE BAIT ! WHEN WILL WE EVER LEARN ? AND, to add "insult to injury", these are monies 'appropriated & extorted' by our feckless Federal Government from "British Petroleum". When will we stop "raping" BP ? Can't we recognize extortion when we see it ? Our Federal Government constantly manipulates us and we are like baby birds with open mouths screeching for 'handouts' ! Don't "buy the hype" that the politicians are 'feeding' you Folks; it's only "pre-election plotting". Have we no shame ?
David Arnsby
8:47AM AUG 14TH 2014
The Victims are not being paid. There are literally thousands of Business owners and private individuals that are still waiting for compensation. BP has appealed everything they possible could, despite agreeing to " Pay all Legitimate Claims ".
State Agencies and Local Governments must NOT be paid ahead of the real victims in this disaster. It has been four long years and BP is still trying to get out of all the agreements, including the DWH Settlement and the BP CLAIMS PROGRAM, that they inexplicably closed down in June 2014 with only 1% of the claims settled. It is time for Rick Scott and Pam Bondi A/G to step in and force BP to meet their agreed obligation as the responsible party in this disaster. Action is needed now.
P Ashley
8:12AM AUG 14TH 2014
Nelson and Rubio are aware that the $5 to $20 billion is a cost of doing business for BP and the other companies and will be added to the price at the pumps to be paid for by the consumer.

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