BP oil spill funds intended to aid in the recovery of the Gulf Coast are ready to be invested in Alabama, Governor Kay Ivey said in an announcement Monday.
According to Gov. Ivey, the U.S. Treasury Department has approved Alabama’s plan to invest the funds. The $192.4 million injection of cash will be dispersed among 15 projects proposed by Alabama’s Multiyear Implementation Plan for Gulf Coast Recovery developed by the Alabama Gulf Coast Recovery Council.
All of the projects proposed by the AGCR are located in Mobile and Baldwin Counties, which together form Alabama’s entire section of Gulf Coast. The projects are consistent with the criteria established by the Resources and Ecosystems Sustainability, Tourist Opportunities and Revived Economies Act of 2012 (RESTORE Act), a bill passed by Congress in 2012 in the wake of BP’s Deepwater Horizon oil spill and signed into law by President Barack Obama.
“All 15 projects are in accordance with the focus areas selected by the Council, which include infrastructure projects benefiting the economy and related planning assistance,” the governor’s announcement stated.
The AGCR is made up of the governor, who serves as chair; the director of the Alabama State Port Authority, who serves as vice-chair; the chairman of the Baldwin County Commission; the president of the Mobile County Commission; and the mayors of Bayou La Batre, Dauphin Island, Fairhope, Gulf Shores, Mobile, and Orange Beach. Former Congressman Jo Bonner serves as Governor Ivey’s representative in her absence.
“This is a watershed day in the reinvestment of Alabama’s Gulf Coast communities,” Governor Ivey said. “The members of the Council have worked long and hard over the past year to get us to this point; at long last, oil spill funds guaranteed to the people of Alabama through the RESTORE Act are about to be invested. I am especially grateful there has been so much public input in this process.”
Now that the AGCR plan has been approved, individual grant applications must be submitted to the Treasury Department and awarded before the projects can begin.
The RESTORE Act dedicates 80 percent of federal Clean Water Act penalties paid by BP and other parties to the U.S. in connection with the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. The funds are to be spent by the five Gulf states for ecological and economic recovery efforts.
The money is set aside in a Trust Fund overseen by the U.S. Treasury Department, which reviews state plans for investment of the oil spill funds. Projects and programs funded through the RESTORE Act will generate investments in economic development, tourism promotion, and science-based natural resource restoration.