Initial Comprehensive Plan, Next Steps
The RESTORE Act established a Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council (the Council), which is comprised of governors from the five affected Gulf States, the Secretaries from the U.S. Departments of the Interior, Commerce, Agriculture, and Homeland Security as well as the Secretary of the Army and the Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The Gulf States recommended and President Obama appointed the Secretary of Commerce as the Council’s Chair.
One of the Council's primary responsibilities is to develop a Comprehensive Plan to restore the ecosystem and the economy of the Gulf Coast region.
Timeline of Activities
In January of 2013, the Council released The Path Forward to Restoring the Gulf Coast as an initial step in developing a more detailed Comprehensive Plan.
In May of 2013, the Council released a Draft Initial Comprehensive Plan, which provides a framework to implement a coordinated, Gulf Coast region-wide restoration effort in a way that restores, protects and revitalizes the Gulf Coast.
The Council unanimously approved the Plan in August, 2013. This is the first version of a plan that will change over time. It will guide the Council's actions to restore the Gulf Coast ecosystem and economy. The Plan establishes the Council's goals for the region and provides a process to fund restoration projects and programs as funds become available. Over the next few years, development and implementation of this plan will be an iterative process leading to a comprehensive, region-wide, multi-objective restoration plan based on the best available science.
Read the Initial Comprehensive Plan and Programmatic Environmental Assessment using the links below.
Final Programmatic Environmental Assessment
Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI)
Click here to read additional info about the Initial Plan.
Due to ongoing litigation, there is uncertainty surrounding the ultimate amount of administrative and civil penalties that may be available to the Trust Fund and the timing of their availability. The Council will continue to build more detail into the Plan and its associated processes as existing uncertainties are resolved and will issue future updates and addenda to this Plan. In accordance with the RESTORE Act, the Council will review and update the entire Plan at least every five years.
Other next steps:
- Develop regulations establishing the Oil Spill Restoration Impact Allocation formula and provide further guidance on the process of reviewing, evaluating and funding State Expenditure Plans (SEPs).
- Release a schedule for the submittal of proposals from Council members and develop a proposal submission and evaluation process to effectively evaluate projects and programs based on the Priority Criteria set forth in the Act.
- Publish for review and comment a Draft Funded Priorities List, which will identify the projects and programs the Council intents to prioritize for funding.