Gov. Phil Bryant today announced the creation of GoCoast 2020 at a news conference at the Mississippi Coast Coliseum and Convention Center. GoCoast 2020 was established by Gov. Bryant through Executive Order to serve as the official advisory body for allocation of monies received by the State of Mississippi under the RESTORE Act.
RESTORE is a federal act stipulating that 80 percent of certain penalties assessed as a result of the Deep Water Horizon oil spill be directed to the five Gulf states impacted by the spill.
GoCoast 2020 is comprised of more than 100 business and community leaders and elected officials from across the Mississippi Gulf Coast. The group will work to develop a bold, comprehensive vision for a vibrant Mississippi Gulf Coast, relying on public input to help integrate existing plans and resources into restoration efforts.
"Over the coming years, the RESTORE Act will route significant funding to our Mississippi Gulf Coast as BP pays its bill for the oil spill," Gov. Bryant said. "While we don't know exactly when the money will come, when the time comes we will be prepared to use these resources in the best interest of the Gulf Coast. That is why I am creating GoCoast 2020 to be a Coast-driven group that uses its collective resources, talent and ideas to make this venture a success."
"Trudy Fisher, Executive Director of the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality, will take a leadership role in the GoCoast 2020 effort as a continuing part of her work in my administration's efforts to restore Mississippi Gulf Coast," Gov. Bryant said.
"GoCoast 2020, as envisioned by Gov. Bryant, uniquely poises Mississippi to be proactive and ready to receive and direct funds from the RESTORE Act," Fisher said. "Focusing on the dual goals of environmental and economic success, GoCoast 2020 promises ambitious, Coast-driven results and sets a new standard in consensus-based planning."
GoCoast 2020 will chart a vision for the Gulf Coast and make important recommendations about initiatives and projects related to the following eight key areas of focus:
* Economic development
* Small business
* Workforce development
GoCoast 2020 will hold a series of planning sessions and public meetings to develop the strategy for utilizing RESTORE Act funds to preserve and advance the unique region of the Mississippi Gulf Coast.
"I am committed to acting quickly to seize this opportunity with the people of the Gulf Coast and create a bold and lasting road map for the use of RESTORE funds," Gov. Bryant continued. "GoCoast 2020 will help establish a plan now so we will be ready with a clear vision of how to properly spend the funds in a way that best benefits the Coast today and for the future. If we move quickly, work together and dream big, we have the opportunity right now to create the vision for the Mississippi Gulf Coast for many future generations to come."
A new website, www.GoCoast2020.com, provides more information about the group, its members, mission, organization and schedule of activities. The public may also submit ideas and proposals through the website.