U.S. Department of Treasury
On April 20, 2010, the largest offshore oil spill in the United States occurred, exacerbating the effects of previous natural disasters. Oil flowed unchecked for three months. The cause was an explosion of the Deepwater Horizon, an oil rig drilling in the Gulf of Mexico. Before the well was capped, millions of barrels of crude oil were released, closing tens of thousands of square miles of federal waters to fishing, and causing extensive damage to marine and wildlife habitats, and tourism.
On July 6, 2012, the President signed into law the Resources and Ecosystems Sustainability, Tourist Opportunities, and Revived Economies of the Gulf Coast States Act (RESTORE Act; Subtitle F of Public Law 112-141) (http://www.treasury.gov/services/restore-act/Documents/Final-Restore-Act.pdf) . The Act established the Gulf Coast Restoration Trust Fund in the U.S. Treasury Department. Eighty percent of the civil penalties paid after July 6, 2012, under the Federal Water Pollution Control Act in connection with the Deepwater Horizon oil spill will be deposited into the Trust Fund and invested. Under the Act, amounts in the Trust Fund will be available for programs, projects, and activities that restore and protect the environment and economy of the Gulf Coast region. These funds were split into five different funding streams.
One of the streams, known as the Direct Component includes funds available for access by St. Tammany Parish through the Treasury Department. As of October 14, 2014, the amount available for distribution to St. Tammany Parish is $933,988.00. Additional funding is anticipated to be made available upon the conclusion of the pending lawsuits. As additional funding is made available to the Trust fund, the Multi-Year Implementation Plan will be modified to add additional projects.
The requirements of the RESTORE Act define the conditions entities must meet before receiving Direct Component Funds. In order to access funds from the Treasury Department the Multi-Year Implementation Plan must be created and present to the public for comment. After the 45-day public comment period, the Multi-Year Implementation Plan can be sent to the Treasury Department for approval. Once approved, grant applications for the specific projects listed in the plan can be submitted for approval and processing.