Legislation known as the RESTORE Act passed the U.S. House and U.S. Senate today in a bipartisan vote. The RESTORE Act was included in the highway transportation bill and establishes the Gulf Coast Restoration Trust Fund. 80% of all civil penalties paid by responsible parties in connection with the Deepwater Horizon oil spill is placed in the Trust Fund. According to the RESTORE Act funding may be used to invest in projects and activities to restore the long-term health of the coastal ecosystem and local economies in the Gulf Coast Region, which includes the states of Mississippi, Louisiana, Alabama, Florida, and Texas.
Gov. Phil Bryant had the following statement:
"Congress passed unprecedented legislation to send penalty money collected from BP to the states impacted by the Deepwater Horizon disaster. When those funds are available, my office will work closely with Gulf Coast officials, MDEQ, and other state agencies to make certain that Mississippi receives it share. I appreciate the hard work of U.S. Sens. Cochran and Wicker, U.S. Rep. Steven Palazzo and the entire Mississippi delegation for their leadership in seeing this become law. My promise is to continue to monitor waters of the Gulf Coast for decades to come."