Restore Act money
Updated: Saturday, August 3 2013, 03:34 PM CDT
NORTHWEST FLORIDA -- More than three years after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, there are still many questions left to be answered.
Among the biggest are how oil spill fine money will be distributed and how much money could be headed to Northwest Florida in the settlement.
We've been talking about BP settlement money for a long time here. And while there is still no exact amount or set date just yet, the planning process continues to ramp up.
And that's important, because getting it right with this money may be the most important issue facing our local government.
Escambia County Commissioner Grover Robinson is chairing the Gulf Coast Consortium.. A group of 23 Florida counties in line to get millions of dollars for damages from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill.
The Restore Act funding can be tough to get your arms around.
Grover Robinson/Chairman, Gulf Consortium
"We clearly understand in Florida, we may be a little different, in that some of this is going to go for economic restoration. It is clearly intended for that.
There will be some pots that will be strictly environmental. There will be other pots that will be a blend of environmental and economic."
When all the court cases are settled... Florida's share of the restore funds will divide among the 23 gulf coast counties... With the eight northwest Florida counties getting the bulk.
That could be as much as one billion dollars over 10 or 15 years.
It's a once in a lifetime opportunity.
There needs to be a plan in place.
"I don't want to just throw projects that we haven't done, throw them up on the wall. We need to understand what it is we want to accomplish. If we want to accomplish real restoration, both the environmental and the economic, we need to do that."
"I think the people out here need to be asked what they would like to see done with the money. Because I know I come out here often and some of the stuff is in disrepair. It doesn't look good. And the money would definitely be put to good use out here."
Commissioner Robinson tells us that they're hoping to have some rules in place from the Treasury Department in August. That will help with planning going forward.