Gulf Restoration Council Announces Proposal Submission Window For Council Members, Releases Interim Final Rule to Support State Planning Efforts
Media Contact: Bethany Carl Kraft, Gulf Coast Ecosystem
Restoration Council, 202.431.8180
The Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council (Council) announced today the release of project submission guidelines and a new rule to support State planning efforts, marking a significant milestone in the Council’s efforts to restore the ecosystem and economy of the Gulf coast region. With the release of these guidelines, Council members may begin submitting project and program proposals to the Council for funding. The Council will invest in specific actions, projects and programs to achieve on-the-ground results to restore the overall health of the ecosystem of the Gulf coast region.
“The release of these guidelines and rule is a critical step forward that will allow the Council to get resources on the ground for restoration,” said Secretary Penny Pritzker, Chairperson of the Gulf Restoration Council. “We remain committed to restoring the region's economic and environmental health and ensuring the Gulf comes back stronger than before the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.”
The project submission window for members opens today and will close no earlier than November 17, 2014. The projects and programs selected by the Council will be included on a draft Funded Priorities List (FPL) and published for public comment. Approximately $150-180 million from the settlement with Transocean Deepwater Inc. and related entities will be available to fund projects and programs under the Council-Selected Restoration Component. The Council will select and fund projects and programs that restore and protect the natural resources, ecosystems, water quality, fisheries, marine and wildlife habitats, beaches, and coastal wetlands of the Gulf Coast region. The Council finalized the process for evaluating and selecting restoration projects in July 2014.
“We are excited to announce the start of the project selection process and look forward to receiving excellent proposals from our Council members in the coming months. The Council adopted a merit-based process to evaluate and select projects which will put the Council members in a strong position to move forward with project implementation,” said Justin Ehrenwerth, Executive Director of the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council.
The Council will continue to seek broad participation from the diverse stakeholders in the Gulf Coast region and will provide opportunities for public engagement across the Gulf region. Dates and locations will be made available on the Council’s web site. State and federal members will coordinate their outreach efforts.
The Council also announced today that a new rule has been published in the Federal Register for Gulf Coast states to receive funding for development of State Expenditure Plans. While the Council will select and fund projects and programs to restore the ecosystem with Council-Selected Restoration Component funds, Spill Impact Component funds will be invested in projects identified in approved State Expenditure Plans. The Interim Final Rule provides access to up to 5% of the funds available to each State under the Oil Spill Impact Component for planning. The Council anticipates releasing a proposed rule later this year that sets forth the final oil spill impact formula and sets levels of funding provided to each State.
“In recognition of the need to provide funding to support the development of State Expenditure Plans, the Council takes an important step today in making needed planning funds available to the States. In particular, the Council recognizes the importance of these planning funds to support the efforts of Florida’s Gulf Consortium,” said Justin Ehrenwerth, Executive Director of the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council.
Click here to read the Interim Final Review published in the Federal Register.
The Council created a number of materials to provide information to the public about the Council and its work, which are included below.
Proposal Submission Guidelines for Council Members
Council-Selected Restoration Component Proposal Submission and Evaluation Process Fact Sheet. For a more detailed description of the process, click here.