WASHINGTON – The U.S. Treasury published Friday newly proposed federal rules to govern and hand out the funds generated from the RESTORE Act legislation signed into law last year that originated from the 2010 BP oil disaster.
The Treasury rules represent the next necessary bureaucratic step needed to eventually funnel billions of dollars to Louisiana and four other Gulf Coast states.
The RESTORE Act 80 percent of the Clean Water Act civil fines to the Gulf of Mexico states affected by the disaster, an amount that could reach nearly $18 billion once the BP penalties are concluded.
The BP civil trial is ongoing. The 2010 Deepwater Horizon explosion killed 11 men, and resulted in a three-month discharge of 4.9 million barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Louisiana.
Last week, the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council met in New Orleans and approved an initial comprehensive plan that lays out goals for ecosystem and economic recovery within the five Gulf of Mexico states affected by the oil disaster. The governors of those states — Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Texas and Florida — serve on the council with federal officials.
Gov. Bobby Jindal was particularly critical of BP’s delays, which launched a new war of words with the British oil giant.
Money for Gulf Coast coastal restoration projects could arrive within a year and Louisiana officials are calling for a speedy process to get the work moving.