|October 22, 2013 - Regular Meeting|
Agenda Item #41
Restoring Our Environment Restores Our Economy
Contact and/or Presenter Information
Charlie Hunsicker, Director, Parks and Natural Resources Department
Jessica Koelsch, Florida Policy Specialist, Gulf of Mexico Restoration National Wildlife Federation
Adopt Resolution R-13-201 to be used as a model for consideration of other local governments around the Gulf of Mexico who wish to join the growing list of government, state and federal agencies who have chosen to focus on environmental restoration and recovery to implement the unique opportunities coming through RESTORE Act compensation.
In the aftermath of the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, the schedule of criminal and civil penalties are under negotiation between BP and the US Government. Congress has passed the RESTORE Act to distribute these penalties to State and Local governments bordering the Gulf of Mexico in proportion to direct and indirect economic and environmental damages which were incurred during the months long oil spill event.
One particular path of compensation under the RESTORE Act will flow to a coupling of federal agencies and five coastal states for distribution. This path, one of three distinct pathways, is called the Direct Component fund. The distribution of monies to the affected states and local governments under the direct component will be decided by a competitive project proposal selection process administered by the Gulf Coast Restoration Council, made up of representatives of the federal agencies and the Governors of each of the five states in the Gulf of Mexico affected by the spill.
In the months between November 2012 through March 2013, the three national estuary programs bordering the gulf coast made up of the Tampa Bay, Sarasota Bay, and Charlotte Harbor Estuary programs worked together to solicit proposals from their respective member governments which were vetted under a regional competitive process and submitted as a body of projects from Florida's southwest coast to the Gulf Coast Restoration Council. Manatee County responded to this solicitation with a submission of a grouping of 17 individual projects, totaling $68 million covering land acquisition, environmental land restoration and habitat creation, environmental quality monitoring along with projects to build in-house staff capabilities to carry out long term restoration projects and monitoring of the health of our estuaries, bays, and the near shore Gulf of Mexico.
The development of these project proposals evolved from a philosophy and policy guidance from the Board of County Commissioners that our RESTORE Act proposals should remain consistent with the intent of the RESTORE Act legislation focusing upon environmental recovery, building environmental resiliency, and supporting water dependent economies impacted by the spill and other chronic environmental gulf problems. Indeed, the Commission has publicized these guiding principles in the county's on-line RESTORE Act project solicitation forms which state projects may be considered as having either a local or regional impact. Guiding principles relating to project proposals include the following:
1. Projects provide positive environmental, economic, or societal benefits
2. Projects are consistent with local government comprehensive plans
3. Projects incorporate other funding partners to further leverage grant resources as possible
4. Projects related to promotion of tourism are based upon water dependent activities
5. No project will be able to encumber all of the grant funds allocated to individual categories
Manatee County's goals and emphasis on RESTORE Act projects which have an environmental restoration and or environmental resiliency focus are shared by many national and international environmental organizations across the Gulf of Mexico, including the National Wildlife Federation.
Recognizing and respecting Manatee County's environmental emphasis in the development and formulation of it's response to the funding opportunities under the RESTORE Act, the National Wildlife Federation is requesting that the Board of County Commissioners consider adoption of the draft Resolution R-13-201, which can then be used as a model for consideration of other local governments around the Gulf of Mexico who wish to join the growing list of governments, state and federal agencies who have chosen to focus on environmental restoration and recovery to implement the unique opportunities coming through RESTORE Act compensation.
County Attorney Review
Not Reviewed (No apparent legal issues)
Explanation of Other
Instructions to Board Records
Provide one executed copy to Kay Rogers, Parks and Natural Resources Department, ext 4602 (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Cost and Funds Source Account Number and Name
Amount and Frequency of Recurring Costs
Attachment: Resolution R-13-201 RESTORE Act.pdf
Attachment: RESTORE Act Project Summary.pdf