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The RESTORE Act contains five different funding components, one of which directs 35 percent of the funds deposited into the Trust Fund to each of the five Gulf Coast States in equal shares for expenditure for ecological and economic restoration of the Gulf Coast region (the “Direct Component”) and one of which directs 30 percent of the funds deposited in the Trust Fund to each of the five Gulf Coast States to address the ecological and economic impacts from the oil spill based on a formula established by the Council by regulation (the “Spill Impact Component”). In order for a Gulf Coast State to receive funding under the Direct Component or the Spill Impact Component of the RESTORE Act, the States must first develop a plan for the expenditure of Trust Fund monies under those funding components.
The State of Louisiana’s RESTORE Plan
Because the activities eligible for funding under the Direct Component and Spill Impact Component are nearly identical, and the requirements for both the Direct Component’s Multiyear Implementation Plan and the Spill Impact Component’s State Expenditure Plan are similar, the State of Louisiana has elected to combine these two plans into a single document – the “RESTORE Plan” – which is guided by the state’s Comprehensive Master Plan for a Sustainable Coast.
On May 20, 2015, Louisiana released its initial draft State RESTORE Plan for use of then-available Direct Component funds for public comment. At the time, the amount of Spill Impact Component funds was unknown because the allocation formula had not yet been developed by the Council. The comments the State received on the initial draft plan were generally positive.
Accordingly, on July 15, 2015, the State submitted its plan to the U.S. Department of Treasury (“Treasury”) for approval as a prerequisite under the RESTORE Act for requesting and receiving Direct Component funds.
On September 21, 2015, Treasury notified the State that it was the first state to have a plan for the expenditure of Direct Component funds accepted by Treasury and the first state eligible to apply for Direct Component grants from Treasury.
On April 4, 2016, the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana entered a final consent decree among the United States, the five Gulf Coast States and BP on April 4, 2016, which allocated a total of approximately $260.4 million to CPRA under the Direct Component over a 15-year period. Entry of the consent decree also triggered the effective date of the RESTORE Council’s spill impact formula, allocating a total of approximately $551.5 million to CPRA under the Spill Impact Component through 2031. Accordingly, the State updated and amended its September 21, 2015 RESTORE Plan.
The First Amended RESTORE Plan totals $811.9 million and documents the State’s plan for expenditure of the entirety of its Direct Component and Spill Impact Component funds over a 15-year period ending in 2031. This plan was approved by Treasury and the RESTORE Council in March 2017. This plan was also the first plan to be accepted by the RESTORE Council for expenditure of its Spill Impact Component funds, making Louisiana the first state eligible to apply for Spill Impact Component grants from the RESTORE Council.
The activities identified in the State’s First Amended RESTORE Plan for funding over the next 15 years include the following:
In June 2018, the RESTORE Council approved a $20 million amendment to the State’s First Amended RESTORE Plan to fund six projects under the first installment of the State’s RESTORE Parish Matching Program. The projects approved for funding under the RESTORE Parish Matching Amendment are as follows:
As additional projects and programs, such as projects proposed under the CPRA-Parish Matching Opportunities Program, are proposed under the State’s First Amended RESTORE Plan, or as allocations among projects and programs may be updated over time, the Plan will be amended. Amendments to the Plan will undergo the same procedure for public comment as outlined above.