The RESTORE Act and Bay County, Florida
UPDATE September 23, 2016
On October 4, Bay County's draft RESTORE Act Multi-Year Implementation Plan, including 15 project proposals, will be presented to the Board of County Commissioners. The plan can be downloaded. This Plan is for RESTORE Act Direct Component ("Pot 1") funds that are reserved for Bay County's use. A list and map of the projects and a tally of comments received on the projects is available. The draft plan was considered in a public hearing during the Board's July 19 meeting. A 45-day public comment period was then opened. More than 130 comments were received.
The public comments can be downloaded (16 megs, downloads as zipped folder, click on and view each comment as a pdf). The draft plan is also available for viewing at the main Bay County Public Library at 898 W. 11th St., Panama City, FL 32401. Additional information is available at Bay County's main RESTORE Act web page and the web page on the Plan and projects under consideration.
The Plan is being brought back to the Board for consideration of the public comments and to conduct a second public hearing. Approximately $7 million is available for projects. The cost of the 15 proposed projects in the draft Plan exceeds the available funds by approximately $2.5 million. The cost of projects in the Board-approved Plan cannot exceed the funds available, so not all 15 projects will be selected for inclusion in the Plan. The Board will decide which projects to include in the Plan, then approve and submit the Plan to the U.S. Department of the Treasury.
The Plan will be considered in a public hearing during the Board's October 4 meeting, which starts at 9 a.m. CT. Public comment will be allowed during the agenda item, limited to 3 minutes per person, no powerpoints. Project supporters are encouraged to have one person speak for each project, with other supporters standing at the end of the speaking time to show their support.
UPDATE August 15, 2016
At their August 3 meeting, the Bay County RESTORE Act Advisory Committee voted to recommend an un-ranked list of seven potential RESTORE Act Spill Impact Component/Pot 3 projects to the Board of County Commissioners. The Committee also recommended a $75,000 per year set-aside to be used as matching funds for other projects that would improve water quality, such as oyster shell recycling, seagrass restoration and shoreline stabilization.
The proposed list of Pot 3 projects will be presented to the Bay County Board of County Commissioners during their August 16, 9 am CT Board meeting. The Board is being asked to approve a list of projects to be nominated for inclusion in Florida's State Expenditure Plan for the RESTORE Act Spill Impact Component funds. The meeting will be held in the Bay County Commission Chambers, 840 W. 11th Street, Panama City, FL. There will be an opportunity for public comment on this item at the beginning of the meeting. The meeting will be streamed and a recording will be available later through the same link.
UPDATE August 2, 2016
At 3 pm CT on August 3, 2016, the Bay County RESTORE Act Advisory Committee will meet to review potential projects for funding by Bay County's allocation of RESTORE Act Spill Impact Component (Pot 3) funds. At their July 19 meeting, the Committee decided to recommend projects that contribute to the health of the bay, especially water quality and habitat.
The Committee asked County staff to provide a list of County priority projects, and to meet with bay-related environmental groups to get their input.
At the August 3 meeting, the Committee will select projects to recommend to the Board of County Commissioners. The meeting will be held in the Bay County Commission Chambers, 840 W. 11th Street, Panama City, FL.
The agenda and Committee materials will be available at tinyurl.com/BayRESTOREdocs. The agenda and agenda with backup materials (3 megs) can be downloaded. There will be opportunities for public comment at the beginning and the end of the meeting. The meeting will be streamed. Archives of past meetings can be accessed from this same link. Click on the "Miscellaneous" tab, then select the meeting you would like to view.
UPDATE July 20, 2016
At the Bay County Board of County Commissioners meeting of July 19, the Board approved the draft Bay County RESTORE Act Direct Component (Pot 1) Multi-Year Implementation Plan. Video of the public hearing when the plan was discussed can be viewed under Item 11. A copy of the Plan is available at the main Bay County Public Library, 898 W. 11th St., Panama City, FL. A map of all projects can be downloaded. Other materials and maps of individual projects are available.
All 15 proposed projects are included in the draft Plan. The cost of the proposed projects exceeds the available funds. The public will have until 4 pm CT, September 2, 2016 to submit comments on the Plan. Email comments can be sent to RESTOREproposals@baycountyfl.gov; mailed comments can be sent to RESTORE Act Direct Component, County Manager's Office, 840 W. 11th St., Panama City, FL 32401. After reviewing comments, the Board will decide which of the projects to approve for funding with the available funds, approve the Plan, and send it to the U.S. Department of the Treasury for review. After review of the Plan by Treasury, Bay County will prepare Direct Component grant applications for each project.
UPDATE July 13, 2016
The next meeting of the Bay County RESTORE Act Advisory Committee (RAAC) will be held Tuesday, July 19 at 3:00 pm CT in the Bay County Commission Chambers at 840 West 11th Street in Panama City, FL.
During the meeting, the Committee will elect a chair and vice-chair. The Committee will decide on a process to identify, evaluate and recommend to the Bay County Board of County Commissioners projects to be funded with Bay County's allocation of RESTORE Act Spill Impact Component (Pot 3) funds. Additional topics may be addressed.
The meeting will be streamed live and a recording will be available online.
UPDATE July 11, 2016
Fifteen Bay County RESTORE Act Direct Component proposals will be considered for funding by the Bay County Board of County Commissioners. These proposals are part of the process to prepare Bay County's Multiyear Implementation Plan for projects to be funded with RESTORE Act Direct Component funds reserved for Bay County's use. The draft Plan will be brought before the Bay County Board of County Commissioners in a public hearing during the Board's July 19, 9 a.m. CT meeting. The Board will approve a draft Plan, and a public comment period of at least 45 days will be opened. After the public comment period, the Board will approve a final Multiyear Implementation Plan, including a list of projects to be funded. For more information, see the Bay County RESTORE Act Proposals Advanced for Consideration web page. The draft Plan (3 megs) can be downloaded here.
UPDATE January 25, 2016
Fifteen Bay County RESTORE Act Direct Component proposals were advanced for consideration for funding by the Bay County Board of County Commissioners. These proposals are part of the process to prepare Bay County's Multiyear Implementation Plan for projects to be funded with RESTORE Act Direct Component funds reserved for Bay County's use. For more information, see the Bay County RESTORE Act Proposals Advanced for Consideration web page.
UPDATE October 5, 2015
On October 5, the settlement language for the proposed BP Deepwater Horizon settlement between BP, the federal government and the five Gulf coastal states was released. The terms are essentially the same as described in July's agreement in principal - approximately $20.8 billion including interest payments, restoration payments already made, and reimbursement of govt. costs related to the spill. Clean Water Act penalties total $5.5 billion (80%, $4.4 billion, to RESTORE), Natural Resource Damages $8.1 billion (includes $1 billion in Early Restoration funds), economic damages to state and local governments up to $5.9 billion, plus some cost reimbursement and other payments. Payments will be made over 17 years.
Also on October 5, the Trustees for the Deepwater Horizon Natural Resource Damage Assessment (NRDA) proposed a comprehensive restoration plan for the Gulf of Mexico. The draft plan would allocate up $8.8 billion of the BP settlement for natural resource injuries. Comments on both the settlement language and the draft restoration plan are due by December 4, 2015. The "Proposed BP Deepwater Horizon Settlement" in the right sidebar provides additional information.
Bay County will receive approximately $34.9 million in Direct Component/Pot 1 funds over 15 years, in addition to the $6.3 million from the Transocean settlement. The Bay County Board of County Commissioners will decide how to spend these funds, as allowed by the RESTORE Act and U.S. Treasury regulations.
UPDATE August 24, 2015
The Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council recently released its draft Initial Funded Priorities List for RESTORE Act Pot 2 funds. One of the proposed projects is the Gulf of Mexico Estuary Program. This proposes to establish a local estuary program, similar to a National Estuary Program, in one or more estuaries in NW Florida from Perdido to Apalachicola Bays. St. Andrew Bay is one of those under consideration. The Council will hold a public meeting in Panama City at 6 p.m. CT on Thursday, August 27 at Gulf Coast State College. Details at Restore the Gulf. Members of the public who wish to support this or other proposed projects should attend and voice their support.
CANCELLED - August 11 meeting of the Bay County RESTORE Act Advisory Committee
UPDATE August 4, 2015
Triumph Gulf Coast, Inc.
For the eight Disproportionately Affected Counties (Escambia to Wakulla coastal counties), Triumph Gulf Coast, Inc. is the most significant Deepwater Horizon-related funding source for economic projects. Triumph will provide more than six times as much money to the eight-county area as these counties will receive in RESTORE Act Direct Component funds/Pot 1. Triumph has the potential to significantly strengthen the Panhandle's economic base.
The inaugural meeting of the Triumph Gulf Coast, Inc. board will be Tuesday, August 18 from 9 am to noon CT at the Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort at 9300 Emerald Coast Parkway West in Destin, Florida, 32550. Attendance by a large contingent of diverse interests will demonstrate that Panhandle residents recognize and strongly support the opportunity that Triumph represents for diversifying and strengthening the economy.
The Triumph meeting agenda and backup material are available to download.
"Triumph Gulf Coast is a nonprofit corporation organized to oversee 75 percent of all funds recovered by the Florida attorney general for economic damages to the state that resulted from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Triumph Gulf Coast must establish, hold, invest and administer a trust account at a federally insured institution for the economic recovery, diversification and enhancement of the eight Northwest Florida counties disproportionally affected by the spill. Those counties include Escambia, Santa Rosa, Okaloosa, Walton, Bay, Gulf, Franklin and Wakulla."
UPDATE July 7, 2015
BP, the federal government and the five Gulf states have entered into an agreement in principle that covers Clean Water Act fines (relates to RESTORE funds), the Natural Resource Damage Assessment (NRDA) and economic damages resulting from the Deepwater Horizon disaster. The $18.7 billion will be paid over 18 years. Florida will receive at least $2 billion for economic damages, at least $680 million for natural resource damages, and at least $572 million from the RESTORE Act. Bay County,Florida, will receive $34.9 million through the RESTORE Act. Three-fourths of Florida's economic damages, $1.5 billion, are reserved for economic development in the eight Florida Gulf coastal counties from Escambia to Wakulla. A summary of the proposed settlement can be viewed. Additional details can be found under "What's New" in the right sidebar.
At their June 16 meeting, the Board of County Commissioners voted to advance all 14 Bay County RESTORE Act proposals recommended by the Bay County RESTORE Act Advisory Committee. The Board also included Bay PRP 2014-004, North Bay Wastewater Collection System Improvements proposal ($1.5M requested) considered previously by the Committee. The total requested for all 15 proposals is $8.2 million. The list of proposals under consideration can be downloaded here.
The Commission will eventually select projects to be included in Bay County's Gulf Restoration Trust Fund Multiyear Implementation Plan for Direct Component/Pot 1 funds. The amount of Direct Component funds allocated for projects in the Plan cannot exceed about $6 million.
All 15 proposals will be presented in the draft Plan to the Commission, tentatively scheduled for the July 21 Board meeting. The Board will likely approve all proposals for inclusion in the draft Plan. The public will then have 45 days to comment on the draft Plan. The Commission encourages the public to let the Commission know which projects they support.
Comments will be reviewed and the draft Plan will come before the Board again, tentatively scheduled for Oct. 6. Since the amount of Direct Component funds allocated for projects in the Plan cannot exceed about $6 million, it is likely not all 15 projects will be included.
The Plan will then be submitted to the U.S. Department of the Treasury for acceptance. After acceptance, the County will prepare grant applications for each project accepted by Treasury. The County will be the grant recipient for all projects. Some projects may be bid out, others may be passed through to local governments and nonprofits.
Bay County is conducting an application cycle for economic development and/or environmental projects to be funded by RESTORE Act funds. On December 9, the Bay County RESTORE Act Advisory Committee selected 22 of 47 pre-proposals to advance to the full proposal stage. The voting sheet for all 47 pre-proposals and a list of the selected pre-proposals can be downloaded. Applicants of selected pre-proposals prepared full proposals and made presentations at the Feb. 24 meeting, which also allowed public comments. On May 12 the Committee selected and ranked 14 of the 22 proposals. The 14 proposals request $6.7 million; approximately $6 million is available. The selection vote and ranking vote can be downloaded.
The Commissioners can choose projects from the Committee recommendations or any other project that meets the RESTORE Act and Treasury rule requirements. A public comment period will be scheduled before the Commission's project selections are finalized. The proposal information may be viewed at baycountyfl.gov/restore/proposals. Committee meeting materials are available at tinyurl.com/BayRESTOREdocs. Committee and Commission meetings are open to the public and are also streamed at baycountyfl.gov/bocc/meeting-live.
The RESTORE Act was created to help the Gulf of Mexico's environment and economy recover from the Deepwater Horizon oil disaster and other harmful influences. Signed into law in July 2012, the RESTORE Act (Resources and Ecosystems Sustainability, Tourist Opportunities, and Revived Economies of the Gulf Coast States Act) dedicates 80 percent of all Clean Water Act administrative and civil penalties related to the Deepwater Horizon spill to a Gulf Coast Restoration Trust Fund.
The amount of money that Bay County will receive through the RESTORE Act is unknown. The main source of funds is anticipated to be the federal lawsuit against BP. The federal government and Transocean have agreed to a settlement which will provide $6.3 million to Bay County after the County has an approved Multi-Year Implementation Plan.
The Bay County RESTORE Act Planning Process
On January 21, 2014, the Bay County Board of County Commissioners approved Resolution 3207 that established the nine-member RESTORE Act Advisory Committee, which will meet at least bimonthly. After taking public input, the Committee will draft a Multi-Year Implementation Plan and criteria to guide the Committee in selecting projects for funding with RESTORE Act funds. The draft Plan and draft criteria will require the review and approval of the Commission. The Committee will also select and recommend projects to the Commission.
The Committee's activities and public participation in all Committee meetings will address the RESTORE Act's requirement that projects are "selected based on meaningful input from the public, including broad-based participation from individuals, businesses, and nonprofit organizations...." The County is committed to a transparent, inclusive process.
Members of the Bay County RESTORE Act Advisory Committee are:
- Becca Hardin, representing Bay County Economic Development Alliance
- Wayne Stubbs, representing Port Panama City
- Kim Bodine, representing the CareerSource Gulf Coast
- Associate Dean Dr. George Bishop, representing Florida State University Panama City
- W.C. Harlow, nominated by Chairman Guy M. Tunnell
- Todd Neves, nominated by Comm. William T. Dozier
- Adam Albritton, nominated by Comm. George B. Gainer
- Gail A. Carmody, nominated by Comm. Mike Nelson
- Jack Bishop, nominated by Comm. Philip Griffitts
If you are interested in receiving an occasional email on Bay County RESTORE Act information, contact Jim Muller, Bay County RESTORE Act Coordinator email@example.com and include "Subscribe" in the subject line. Please note that Florida has a very broad Public Records Law and your email communications may therefore be subject to public disclosure.
An Overview of the RESTORE Act
The Gulf Coast Restoration Trust Fund, established by the RESTORE Act, will have five "pots" of money to restore and protect the natural resources, ecosystems, fisheries, marine and wildlife habitats, beaches, coastal wetlands, and economy of the Gulf Coast region.
Pot 1, the Equal-Share State Allocation or Direct Component - Bay County receives a portion
All Florida Gulf coastal counties will receive a portion of Pot 1, also known as the Equal-Share State Allocation or the Direct Component (35% of the RESTORE fund, 7% to each state). Bay County will receive 11.3% of Florida's Pot 1. This equals 0.79% of the entire amount of the RESTORE funds. These funds can be used for restoration and protection of natural resources, mitigation of damage to fish and wildlife, and workforce development and job creation. Bay County must prepare a Multi-Year Implementation Plan before receiving funds.
Pot 2, Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council
Pot 2 (30%) is controlled by the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council. Projects to be considered for funding must be nominated by a governor of one of the five Gulf States or one of the six federal entities on the Council. These funds will focus on environmental projects with guidance from the Council's Comprehensive Plan.
Pot 3, Impact-Based State Allocations - Florida Gulf Consortium
Bay County is a member of the intergovernmental group known as the Florida Gulf Coastal Counties Consortium. The Gulf Consortium will plan how to spend Florida's share of Pot 3 funds, the Oil Spill Impact-Based Allocation (30% of RESTORE funds). The proportion of Pot 3 coming to Florida is not yet known. Each state will receive at least 5% of Pot 3. Funds can be used on the same types of projects as for Pot 1.
Pots 4 and 5, NOAA Gulf Restoration Science Program and State Centers of Excellence
Pots 4 and 5 (2.5% each) will be used for research and monitoring. More information on the allocation and allowed uses of RESTORE funds can be found Here.
Other Gulf Restoration Funding Sources
Other sources of Gulf restoration funds are available in addition to RESTORE. Generally, these sources focus on environmental restoration or the public's recreational access to Gulf resources.
Natural Resource Damage Assessment (NRDA) Early Restoration
The Natural Resources Damage Assessment (NRDA) Early Restoration program will fund about $1 billion on natural resource damages and human use of resources. At least $100 million of these funds will be spent on Florida projects.
Gulf Environmental Benefit Fund
The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) will spend about $356 million from the Gulf Environmental Benefit Fund over five years in Florida on resources affected by the oil spill. State agencies, especially the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, will advise.
Additional information on RESTORE and other Gulf restoration funds and how Bay County may be affected can be found on the RESTORE Details page.
Have a project you would like to propose?
If you have a Gulf restoration project you would like to submit, the State of Florida has an online form you can fill out. State Gulf restoration staff will review proposals and match them to the most appropriate funding source.
Bay County has a process for submitting proposals for Pot 1 funds. Please visit baycountyfl.gov/restore/preproposal.
For additional information, contact Jim Muller, Bay County RESTORE Act Coordinator firstname.lastname@example.org