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The RESTORE Act directs 2.5% of the funds deposited into the Trust Fund (plus interest) to each of the five Gulf Coast States in equal shares to the States for expenditure for Centers of Excellence Research grants, which will focus on science, technology, and monitoring related to Gulf restoration.
On April 8, 2014, the CPRA announced the Water Institute as the State of Louisiana’s RESTORE Act Center of Excellence.
On August 15, 2014, Treasury published the Interim Final Rule for the regulations for the Gulf Coast Restoration Trust Fund. These Treasury regulations became effective on October 14, 2014, and required each Gulf Coast State which did not have previously-existing state statutes and regulations for grants to describe the policies it will issue to the Center of Excellence and any lower tier subrecipients to ensure compliance with the Act and Federal law and policies for grants and to publish those policies, including the competitive selection process, for 45 days public comment.
In January 2015, Treasury then published its Financial Assistance Standard Terms and Conditions and Program-Specific Terms and Conditions for grants which outlined the requirements for grant agreements relating to the Centers of Excellence.
On February 12, 2015, the CPRA then published its Draft Internal Agency Policies, which are consistent with Treasury’s Standard Terms and Conditions for grants, for a minimum of 45 days public review and comment. After taking all public comment into consideration, the CPRA finalized these policies. The CPRA has submitted its grant application seeking funding from Treasury for the Center of Excellence.
On October 19th, the Office of Gulf Coast Restoration in the U.S. Department of the Treasury notified the CPRA that it plans to award a Center of Excellence Research Grant totaling more than $4 million.
The CPRA will provide these funds to the Water Institute of the Gulf, which has been selected as the state’s RESTORE Act Center of Excellence, to oversee research efforts designed to advance the state’s Coastal Master Plan in areas relating to coastal sustainability, ecosystem research, monitoring and economic growth.