In July 2012,the Resources and Ecosystems Sustainability, Tourist Opportunities, and Revived Economies of the Gulf Coast States Act (RESTORE Act) established the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council (Council), which is comprised of governors from the five affected Gulf States, the Secretaries from the U.S. Departments of the Interior, Commerce, Agriculture, and Homeland Security as well as the Secretary of the Army and the Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The Gulf States recommended and President Obama appointed the Secretary of Commerce as the Council’s Chair.
The Council has responsibilities with respect to 60 percent of the funds made available from a Gulf Restoration Trust Fund, also established by the RESTORE Act. Thirty percent of the Trust Fund, plus interest, will be administered for ecosystem restoration and protection by the Council according to Section IV of this Plan (Council-Selected Restoration Component). The other 30 percent of the Trust Fund will be allocated to the Gulf Coast States under a formula described in the RESTORE Act and spent according to individual State Expenditure Plans (Spill Impact Component). The State Expenditure Plans must be consistent with the Goals and Objectives of this Plan and are subject to the Council’s approval. Remaining RESTORE Act funds not within the Council’s responsibilities are: the Direct Component (35 percent of the funds), available to the Gulf Coast States in equal shares; the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Science Program (2.5 percent of the funds plus interest); and Centers of Excellence Research Grants Program (2.5 percent of the funds plus interest). For more information on the allocation of the Trust Fund, click here.
One of the Council’s primary responsibilities is to develop a Comprehensive Plan to restore the ecosystem and the economy of the Gulf Coast region. The Council approved the Initial Comprehensive Plan in August, 2013.