Press Release: Today, the Florida Association of Counties (FAC) coordinated a meeting of elected officials and staff from eight of Florida’s Panhandle counties to meet with Florida Senator Bill Nelson on the proposed Senate bill – Restore Act 2011. The bill, sponsored by the ten U.S. Senators from the five Gulf States, specifically provides a distribution of any revenues collected from BP by fines levied as a result of the DeepWater Horizon Oil Spill.
“It was great for Senator Nelson to take the time to meet with us today and ensure those counties impacted by this tragedy have the resources to restore our communities,” said Escambia County Commissioner Grover Robinson, “Any fine dollars collected from BP should go straight to the communities that were directly impacted by the spill.”
Sen. Nelson and Sen. Marco Rubio are co-sponsors on legislation that would distribute any fine money levied to BP equally among the five Gulf States. As currently proposed, 75 percent of the money sent to Florida would be distributed directly to these eight impacted counties allowing them to fund local environmental restoration and economic development projects.
“Sen Nelson has been involved every step of the way,” said Gulf County Commissioner Bill Williams, “Ensuring that counties and our communities are made whole from this tragedy that has impacted not only our shorelines but economies as well.”
In addition to Sen. Nelson, other elected officials in attendance were State Representative Doug Broxson, Escambia County Commissioner Grover Robinson, Santa Rosa County Commissioner Lane Lynchard, Walton County Commissioner Cecila Jones, Okaloosa County Commissioner Bill Roberts, Gulf County Commissioner Bill Williams, Destin Mayor Sam Seevers and Pensacola Mayor Ashton Hayward.
“Today was a great day of regionalism working for the betterment of the Panhandle community,” said Representative Doug Broxson, “Each of these counties are pulling together with our state and federal partners to ensure that not just their county, but the entire Panhandle is made whole from this great tragedy.”
For 80 years, the Florida Association of Counties (FAC) has represented the diverse interests of Florida’s counties, emphasizing the importance of protecting home rule – the concept that communities and their local leaders should make the decisions that impact their community. The Florida Association of Counties helps counties effectively serve and represent Floridians by strengthening and preserving county home rule through advocacy, education and collaboration.