The start of some major funding for coastal restoration begins next month. It’s part of the Restore Act fund established after the 2010 BP oil spill. Some are concerned there’s no details yet on how the affected communities will get their say on how it’s spent.
The Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council announced on its website Friday that it will begin accepting proposals for fixing the damage caused by the Deepwater Horizon disaster.
The council is starting with $240 million from Transocean, the company that owned the Deepwater Horizon. BP fines that have not been determined yet could be as much as $17 billion.
The council includes the governors of the five affected Gulf Coast states and six federal agencies.
Steve Murchie is a spokesman for the non-profit Gulf Restoration Network.
“Multibillion-dollar decisions are going to be made by this body," he said. "That’s why it’s really important that the public has a say.”
He says he’s encouraged that the council wants projects based on scientific review, but is concerned that a process isn’t established for community input.
“The Restore council has made some stops and starts, and we want to be encouraged by their announcement on Friday," he said, "but we really need to see more meat on the bones to be sure that their decisions are going to be based on good science and that there’s going to be meaningful public input.”
The council says it will start accepting proposals next month, with evaluations in the fall. A draft list of the selected projects will be released next year for public comment.