Environment Jeremy's Notebook

Oil Spill Funding Workshop

July 31, 2013

There is a workshop this weekend geared toward educating the public on how best to plug into the RESTORE Act and NRDA processes resulting from the 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

The workshop, presented by Earth Ethics, Inc. and the Environmental Law Institute, is designed to “engage the general public in regards to the Resources and Ecosystems Sustainability, Tourist Opportunities, and Revived Economies of the Gulf Coast States Act of 2012 (RESTORE Act) and Natural Resource Damage Assessment (NRDA) Processes.” Both processes facilitate post-spill funding of recovery efforts.

Funding provided through RESTORE and NRDA stems from financial penalties collected due to the spill. NRDA funds have already funded projects in the local area (and throughout the Gulf Coast), and local officials have a number of potential projects they’d like to see funded through NRDA in the future.  RESTORE funds meanwhile have yet to be determined and hinge on Clean Water Act fines and an ongoing legal process with BP.

Locally, the Escambia County Commission is preparing for the eventual RESTORE funding, a pot of which will be controlled at the local level. Officials are estimating the local funds will amount to between $100 and $200 million.

The commission has established a RESTORE advisory committee that is currently assessing how best to spend the eventual funding. The committee’s work has ranged from academic discussions on community vision to hearing pitches for specific projects.

During this weekend’s workshop, members of the public will have the opportunity to learn how best to participate in these processes. Subjects addressed in the workshop will include public speaking, letter writing and how to become a community advocate.

The workshop—NRDA and RESTORE: Funding and Your Role as Part of the Community—is scheduled for Aug. 3, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. It will be held at the First City Art Center, located at 1060 N. Guillemard St.

The event is free, but participants are encouraged to RSVP by tomorrow, Aug. 1. To RSVP, email mary.earthethics@cox.net.

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