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Pasco County RESTORE Act Committee | Environment

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Pasco County RESTORE Act Committee
Pasco County RESTORE Act Committee

PASCO COUNTY, FLORIDA-- Last summer the Senate and House passed legislation and, on July 6, 2012, the President signed into law the Federal Resources and Ecosystems Sustainability, Tourist Opportunities, and Revived Economies of the Gulf Coast States Act of 2012 (RESTORE Act), which holds the parties responsible for the Gulf oil disaster accountable for restoring the Gulf.

By investing fines owed by BP and the other parties responsible for the Gulf oil spill into the Gulf region, we can start to heal the economies, the environments and the communities that depend on a healthy Gulf.

The RESTORE Act created a specific funding allocation to the effected states and, in particular, a specific designation to the counties effected in Florida. Pasco County has been authorized as one of 23 Florida counties to receive and apply for funds related to civil and administrative penalties imposed under the federal Clean Water Act and paid by responsible parties for the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

A portion of the penalties under the RESTORE Act will come directly to Pasco County (Local Pot 1) while additional competitive funds can be applied for through the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council (Federal Council Pot 2) and through the Gulf Coast Consortium (State Consortium Pot 3). In response to the RESTORE Act and the opportunities for the county, the Pasco County Board of County Commissioners has formed a local citizen’s advisory board, the Pasco County RESTORE Act Committee.

The mission of the local committee is to provide a community based frame-work of key stakeholders in the creation of the funding priorities and vision for Pasco County. The committee, chaired by District 5 County Commissioner Jack Mariano, is currently developing policy, project application processes, scoring criterion, community education materials, and pathways for community input.

The funding protocols and specific utilization of these funds, which guides the committee, is dictated under Federal Law and is based in environmental and economic restoration, sustainability, and resilience.

The upcoming RESTORE Act Committee meeting on May 30th will focus on reviewing County Department projects submitted for consideration for funding though the Federal Pot 2 overseen by the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council. The committee will then recommend the strongest projects to the Board of County Commissioners for consideration for submission to the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council via the Florida Department of Environmental Protection.

Immediately preceding the regular meeting of the committee will be a Public Briefing on the RESTORE Act. “There is a great opportunity for the citizens of Pasco County to get a briefing on the RESTORE Act on Thursday, May 30, 2013 at 5 pm in the New Port Richey Board of County Commissioners Board Room. Following the Briefing the Citizens Advisory Board on the RESTORE Act will be listening to approximately 50 presentations on county projects that have hopes of getting funding through the act. That meeting will start at 5:30 pm. Please go to the county website for more information.

"There is a great opportunity to win a lot of this money to help our county restore our environment and our economy with projects that otherwise might not get funded," stated District 5 County Commissioner Jack Mariano.

While the focus for the May 30th meeting will be on reviewing County Projects for Pot 2 in order to meet the July 7th deadline, the committee will soon be announcing process and procedure information for Pot 1 project submittals. Non-profits, businesses and all others in Pasco County interested in submitting projects for funding through Pot 1 are encouraged to visit the Pasco County website for the most up to date information and announcements.

The Pasco County RESTORE Act Committee meets every two weeks and operates under Sunshine Law. All meetings are open to the public and citizens are encouraged to attend and participate in the process. Meeting details, information regarding the RESTORE Act and project applications can be found at www.pascocountyfl.net.

Project ideas or questions are encouraged in writing or by attending one of the Committee’s meetings or contact Curtis Franklin, Pasco County Restore Act Program Coordinator, at (727) 847-2411 x 8468.

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