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Administrator Pruitt Approves $26M to State of Mississippi for Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Activities

04/17/2018
Contact Information: 
EPA Press Office (press@epa.gov)

WASHINGTON (April 17, 2018) — Yesterday, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt sent a letter to Mr. Gary Rikard, Executive Director of the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality and Designated Alternate for the Governor of Mississippi to the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council (RESTORE Council), announcing his approval of approximately $26 million for Gulf Coast restoration activities in Mississippi.

“I applaud the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality on the development of a thoughtful and effective State Expenditure Plan Amendment,” said EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt. “Our collective efforts under the RESTORE Act will help ensure the long-term health and resilience of the Gulf Coast ecosystem.” 

"We are grateful to Administrator Scott Pruitt, as Chair of the RESTORE Council, for approving Mississippi’s State Expenditure Plan in a timely fashion so we can begin to implement crucial projects including the Remote Oyster Setting Facility project and the Mississippi Gulf Coast Water Quality Improvement Program,” said Rikard. “These projects are a boost to our efforts to improve water quality on the Gulf Coast and the Mississippi Sound and to improve the production of natural oyster reefs and help restore oyster fishery production.  Our restoration efforts are integrated for the overall improvement of our natural resources just as the natural resources are dependent on one another.  These projects are key components of our efforts and will complement one another along with many of our other projects."

The 2017 Mississippi State Expenditure Plan Amendment was submitted underthe Spill Impact Component of the Resources and Ecosystems Sustainability, Tourist Opportunities, and Revived Economies of the Gulf Coast Act of 2012 (RESTORE Act). The funding will support water quality improvement, oyster restoration, habitat conservation and other activities.

Click here to read the letter. 

Background

The RESTORE Act established the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council (RESTORE Council) and the Gulf Coast Restoration Trust Fund (Trust Fund), and dedicates 80 percent of Clean Water Act civil penalties resulting from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill to the Trust Fund, for restoration projects in the Gulf Coast region.

The RESTORE Council is responsible for administering 60 percent of the total funding allocated from the Trust Fund: 30 percent (plus interest) under the Council-Selected Restoration Component and 30 percent under the Spill Impact Component. The RESTORE Council is chaired by EPA, and members include the governors of: Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas, as well as the secretaries of the U.S. Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Homeland Security, the Army and the Interior. 

The RESTORE Council is responsible for helping to restore the ecosystems and economies of the Gulf Coast region by developing and overseeing implementation of a Comprehensive Plan and carrying out other responsibilities. The Gulf Coast ecosystem is one of the most diverse environments in the world and home to a wealth of wildlife, valuable natural resources, abundant seafood, extraordinary beaches and recreational activities, and a rich cultural heritage.

Yesterday, EPA announced the appointment of Ben Scaggs as the Executive Director of the RESTORE Council. A native of Mississippi, Ben Scaggs previously served as Director of EPA’s Gulf of Mexico Program, EPA’s Associate Deputy Administrator in Washington, D.C., Director of EPA’s Office of Administration and Resource Management at EPA’s Research Triangle Park, North Carolina, and EPA’s Office of Air and Radiation in Region 4 office.

Learn more about the RESTORE Council at www.restorethegulf.gov.