NEW ORLEANS, LA – The Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council (Council) today released an update to its 2013 Comprehensive Plan. The update provides additional strategic guidance for the Council to follow as they make decisions on funding projects and activities aimed at restoring the Gulf of Mexico.
The Council will meet to vote on the Comprehensive Plan Update and hear from some of its key restoration partners including representatives from the Deepwater Horizon Natural Resource Damage Assessment Trustees and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation Gulf Environmental Benefit Fund.
The meeting will be Friday, December 16, 2016 at the Hyatt Regency Hotel, Celestin Ballroom Section E (3rd Floor), 601 Loyola Avenue, New Orleans, LA, 70113 from 9:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m. CST. The public is invited to attend. For additional information, and to register for this meeting please click here. Onsite registration will be available on the day of the meeting from 8:00 a.m. – 9:00 a.m. This meeting is also available via live webinar and may be posted on www.RestoreTheGulf.gov. You can register for the webinar here (link is external).
The Comprehensive Plan Update is intended to improve Council decisions by:
- Reinforcing the Council’s goals and objectives,
- Setting forth an initial Ten-Year Funding Strategy,
- Establishing the Council’s vision for Gulf restoration,
- Increasing collaboration among Council members, partner restoration programs and the public,
- Providing for advancement of large-scale projects and programs;
- Refining the process for ensuring that the Council’s decisions are informed by the best available science; and
- Improving the efficiency, effectiveness and transparency of Council actions.
The Council has updated its Initial Comprehensive Plan to include recent developments in Gulf restoration such as the resolution of civil claims against BP for the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, a source of future funding for the Council’s projects. The update also captures important public input and lessons learned from the process of developing and approving its initial Funded Priorities List (FPL), its first slate of restoration activities to be funded through the RESTORE Act, and positions the Council to make the most effective use of future funds as they become available beginning in 2017.
“The Council is pleased to present this Comprehensive Plan Update,” said Justin R. Ehrenwerth, Executive Director of the Council. “We thank the public for comments provided on the draft update. The Council has incorporated modifications to the update based on public input. We look forward to continuing to work with stakeholders as we move forward with comprehensive restoration across the coast.”
The Resources and Ecosystems Sustainability, Tourist Opportunities, and Revived Economies of the Gulf Coast Act of 2012 (RESTORE Act) established the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council (Council) and the Gulf Coast Restoration Trust Fund (Trust Fund), and dedicates 80 percent of Clean Water Act penalties resulting from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill to the Trust Fund, for restoration projects in the Gulf Coast region. The Council is responsible for administering 60 percent of the total funding allocated from the Trust Fund: 30 percent (plus interest) under the Council-Selected Restoration Component and 30 percent under the Spill Impact Component. The Council is chaired by the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, and members include the Governors of the States of Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas, as well as the Secretaries of the U.S. Departments of Commerce, Homeland Security, the Army and the Interior, and the Administrator for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The Council is responsible for helping to restore the ecosystems and economies of the Gulf Coast region by developing and overseeing implementation of a Comprehensive Plan and carrying out other responsibilities. Read more about the Comprehensive Plan, the RESTORE Act and the Council at www.RestoreTheGulf.gov.