Projects to Restore the Gulf to be based on Science and Transparency

Gulf Restoration Council Announces Decision-Making Process for Spending Billions of Dollars

MOBILE, AL – Today the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council, the federal and state partnership charged with determining how billions of dollars in Clean Water Act fines resulting from the BP Deepwater Horizon oil disaster will be spent, announced their plans today for receiving and evaluating proposals for Gulf restoration projects.

“This long-awaited announcement has been years in the making,” says Kara Lankford, Interim Director of Ocean Conservancy’s Gulf Restoration Program, “Ocean Conservancy has been one of the strongest supporters for a science-based platform for successful Gulf restoration. Thanks to the actions taken by the Council today, projects to restore the Gulf will be chosen based on merit, not on politics.”

The Council’s five-step process will accomplish the following:

1. Proposes focus areas of restoring habitat and water quality for projects and programs which will be included on the Funded Priorities List as the first addendum to the Initial Comprehensive Plan.

2. Encourages project submissions that emphasize the following:

  • How a project is foundational in the sense that the project forms the initial core steps in addressing a significant ecosystem issue and that future projects can be tiered to substantially increase the benefits;
  • How a project will be sustainable over time;
  • Why a project is likely to succeed; and
  • How a project benefits the human community where implementation occurs.

3. Provides for external independent scientific review of project proposals.

4. Ensures that all applicable environmental compliance requirements are addressed.

5. Ensures that projects meet both statutory requirements and commitments the Council made in the Comprehensive Plan.

“The RESTORE Council’s announcement is a positive step toward restoring the Gulf ecosystem. A sound, science-based process for selecting projects that includes external, independent scientific review is critical to successful Gulf restoration. The Council’s commitment to an open, transparent process is very encouraging. The project selection process also encourages Council members to find synergies among projects and across jurisdictional boundaries, which is important to ensuring that restoration is greater than the sum of its parts.”

To arrange an interview with Kara Lankford, please contact John Wark at 850-321-6490.

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