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BOCC Joins In On RESTORE Act Kitty


BRADENTON -- Director of Natural Resources, Charlie Hunsicker went before the BOCC Thursday with a priority list of projects that will restore and create new habitat, improve

Photo credited to ecowatch.org

water quality, protect coastal and marine resources, while adding to Manatee County's community resilience. The funds to accomplish these feats will come from the RESTORE Act 2012.


Federal settlement funds that come from the BP vs U.S. Federal Government can be awarded to counties on the Gulf of Mexico in five states. There is a range of projects that meet the criteria: Restoration, creation, and/or protection of natural resources; Mitigation for natural resource damages or losses; Implementation of National Estuary program management plans; Workforce development and job creation; Infrastructure projects benefitting the economy or ecological resources (ports); Coastal flood protection; Planning assistance; Promotion of tourism and seafood consumption.


On November 1, 2012, Manatee County submitted 20 proposals to the three National Estuary programs as directed under the RESTORE Act. On November 16, 2012, the Joint Policy boards of the three estuary programs approved the project and program criteria that is being used by the Gulf Restoration Council to evaluate all of the proposals that had been submitted. Each entity was given the opportunity to revise the projects submitted and to add new projects that meet the requirements. 


Three County projects under education and outreach were merged with larger regional efforts of similar scope and will be nominated for federal funding by the three estuary programs acting in concert.


Under four different categories, there were 17 proposed priorities reviewed by Manatee County staff, to best meet federal criteria, then will be submitted to Sarasota Bay Estuary before January 7, 2013.


The Federal Courts produced another victory on Thursday: A settlement with Transocean for the amount of $1.4 billion. In the settlement  Transocean agreed to pay $1.4 billion, to the Justice Department admitting to a misdemeanor violation of the Clean Water Act.


That amount will join BP's agreement to pay $4 billion, the largest criminal fine in U.S. history, for not taking the proper action to prevent an act that took the lives of 11 Deepwater Horizion workers.


The Justice Department still has a civil case against BP that could rain in almost $20 billion before it is all over.


The full results of Thursday's BOCC agenda meeting can be viewed here.


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