In July 2012, the Resources and Ecosystems Sustainability, Tourist Opportunities, and Revived Economies of the Gulf Coast States Act (RESTORE Act) established the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council (Council). The RESTORE Act dedicates 80 percent of all administrative and civil penalties related to the Deepwater Horizon spill to a Gulf Coast Restoration Trust Fund and outlines a structure by which the funds can be utilized to restore and protect the natural resources, ecosystems, fisheries, marine and wildlife habitats, beaches, coastal wetlands, and economy of the Gulf Coast region. The U.S. Department of the Treasury is responsible for issuing compliance and auditing procedures for the entire Act and procedures for two grant programs administered by Treasury. Read more about Treasury's role here.
The RESTORE Act sets forth the following framework for allocation of the Trust Fund:
- 35 percent equally divided among the five States for ecological restoration, economic development, and tourism promotion;
- 30 percent plus interest managed by the Council for ecosystem restoration under the Comprehensive Plan;
- 30 percent divided among the States according to a formula to implement State expenditure plans, which require approval of the Council;
- 2.5 percent plus interest for the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Science, Observation, Monitoring and Technology Program within the Department of Commerce’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA); and
- 2.5 percent plus interest allocated to the States for Centers of Excellence Research grants, which will each focus on science, technology, and monitoring related to Gulf restoration.