The Resources and Ecosystems Sustainability, Tourist Opportunities, and Revived Economies of the Gulf Coast States Act of 2012—better known as the “RESTORE Act”—was enacted on July 6, 2012.
The RESTORE Act creates a Gulf Coast Restoration Trust Fund (RTF), which receives 80% of any Clean Water Act (CWA) civil and administrative penalties paid by BP and other companies responsible for the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. In total, more than $5.3 billion will flow into the RTF.
There are five different pots of money, each with their own regulations and decision-making structures. The first three are commonly called pots or buckets one, two and three. Funding flows through the RESTORE Act via three pots – Pot 1 evenly distributed 35 percent of RESTORE funding directly to the Gulf states. Pot 2 allocates 30 percent of funding to ecosystem restoration projects selected by the RESTORE Council – each of the five may compete for this money. Pot 3 distributes 30 percent of funding to the Gulf states based on an oil spill impact allocation formula. The remaining 5 percent is divided equally between NOAA to establish the Gulf Coast Ecosystem, Restoration, Science, Observation, Monitoring, and Technology program and to establish Centers of Excellence for research in a variety of environmental and engineering fields related to the Gulf Coast.
Over 2 billion dollars has been committed in the Gulf States across all pots so far, but there are policy limits to how much money can be expended in a given year.
Louisiana has committed to using all of its Pot 1 and Pot 3 money on the Coastal Master Plan. Via Pot 2, Louisiana has received an additional $52.2 million to fund coastal restoration projects included in the RESTORE Council’s Funded Priorities List, including marsh creation, hydrologic restoration, and beach nourishment projects.
Louisiana funded projects
- West Grand Terre Beach Nourishment and Stabilization
- Golden Triangle Marsh Creation
- Biloxi Marsh Living Shoreline
- Lowermost Mississippi River Management
- Mississippi River Reintroduction into Maurepas Swamp
Direct Component (Pot 1*) 35%
- Sent to the five Gulf states in equal amounts
- Can be used for “economic and ecological restoration”
- States are required to complete a multi-year implementation plan to be approved by the Department of Treasury before receiving funds
- In Louisiana, this money is being used to fund the Coastal Master Plan
- Louisiana receives $373 million
Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council (Pot 2) 30% + 50%
of the interest
- Money goes to a Gulf-wide council composed of federal officials and the governors (or their representatives) from the five Gulf states.
- Funds are used to carry out a science-based plan to restore and protect Gulf natural resources
- Process continues through 2021 – $302 million in grants will be available. As part of the ongoing process to select programs and projects for funding under Pot 2, the RESTORE Council staff has posted 24 proposals submitted by seven RESTORE Council members.
Spill Impact Component (Pot 3*) 30%
- Money goes to each state based on the impacts of the oil
- Can be used for both economic and ecological restoration
- States must submit an expenditure plan which is approved by the council before funds are distributed – SEP approved in 2017
- Louisiana gets the bulk of this money because of the impacts – $553 million
Restoration Science Program (Pot 4) 2.5% + 25% of the interest
- Funds go to an NOAA-led program
- Supports research, observation, and monitoring of the long-term sustainability of the Gulf ecosystem and fisheries
- Funding priority is given to integrated and long-term projects
- $133 million
Center of Excellence (Pot 5) 2.5% + 25% of the interest
- Each state’s “Center of Excellence”
- States are to provide grant funding to NGOs and consortia in the Gulf Region to establish “Centers of Excellence” that focus on science, technology and monitoring
- Louisiana’s Center of Excellence is The Water Institute of the Gulf
- To receive approximately $26.6 million over 15 years related to Louisiana Coastal Master Plan research
- In 2017, 13 projects at $4 million for research and collaborative awards as well as graduate studentships
- May 2020, awarded $3.2 million
*Pots 1 and 3 – The State of Louisiana has elected to combine these two plans into a single document – the “RESTORE Plan” – which is guided by the state’s Comprehensive Master Plan for a Sustainable Coast. Approved in June 2018 for $20 million.
Points of Contact
- Restore Council, Director of External Affairs & Tribal Relations, Keala Hughes: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority, Attorney Legal Division, Christine “Chris” Barnes: email@example.com
- Restore the Mississippi River Delta, National Wildlife Federation, Gulf Program, Director, David Muth: firstname.lastname@example.org