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EPA Announces Appointment of Ben Scaggs as Executive Director of the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council

04/16/2018
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WASHINGTON — Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced the appointment of Ben Scaggs as the Executive Director of the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council (RESTORE Council). Mr. Scaggs will oversee the RESTORE Council, which is responsible for restoring and protecting the natural resources, ecosystems, fisheries, marine and wildlife habitats, beaches, coastal wetlands, and economy of the Gulf Coast. The Council is comprised of the Governors of the five Gulf Coast States and Cabinet-level officials from six federal agencies.

“Ben Scaggs will bring a wealth of experience and expertise to the RESTORE Council,” said EPA Administrator Scott Priutt, who is chairperson of the Council. “His personal connection to the region and close working relationship with states, businesses, and community leaders will be a great asset to the Council.”

A native of Mississippi, Ben Scaggs previously served as Director of EPA’s Gulf of Mexico Program, whose mission is to protect, restore, and maintain the health and productivity of the Gulf of Mexico and the communities that rely on this national resource. The Gulf of Mexico Program brings together state and federal government agencies and representatives of the business and agricultural community, fishing industry, scientists, environmentalists, and community leaders from all five Gulf States.

“We are excited to have Ben as Executive Director for the RESTORE Council and we know his appointment will allow the Council to move ahead quickly with planning for the next Funded Priorities List and the Ten Year Funding Strategy, both of which are of critically important to protecting and restoring Louisiana’s coast,” said Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards.

“We’re pleased that Ben Scaggs has been selected as the Executive Director of the RESTORE Council,” said Executive Director of Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality Gary Rikard. “Ben has lived and worked in the Gulf Coast region for many years, and he is keenly aware of the issues we have confronted. Even more so, he recognizes the potential of the restoration process to make the Gulf Region an even better place than it already is. We value Ben’s experience and commitment and look forward to working with him.”

“Through both his strong leadership of the Gulf of Mexico Program and his tireless efforts assisting with the work of this Council, Ben has consistently demonstrated his willingness and ability to work with diverse federal, state and local interests to achieve common goals,” said Commissioner of the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Chris Blankenship. “Alabama is confident that Ben’s previous experience uniquely positions him to immediately advance Council Member efforts to achieve our shared goal of restoring Gulf Coast communities. We were excited to support Ben’s appointment and look forward to working with him as the new Executive Director.”

“Our coastal resources are vital to Florida’s communities, environment and economy, and DEP’s staff works tirelessly to protect them,” said Secretary of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection Noah Valenstein. “We look forward to continuing to work with our partners on the RESTORE Council, with the leadership of Ben to achieve important restoration projects throughout the Gulf coast.”

“Ben brings a wealth of coastal restoration experience and knowledge to this position, and he has been a consistent voice on the RESTORE Council over the years,” said Commissioner of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality Toby Baker. “I am very excited to have his leadership on the Council for the important years to come.”

Prior to his current roles, Mr. Scaggs served as EPA’s Associate Deputy Administrator in Washington, D.C., from 2015-2016. In that role he oversaw a wide range of Agency management and leadership functions in support of EPA’s mission of protecting public health and the environment.

During his 25 years at EPA, Mr. Scaggs has served as the Director of the Office of Administration and Resource Management at EPA’s Research Triangle Park, North Carolina, location, and has also worked in the Office of Air and Radiation and in EPA’s Region 4 office in Atlanta. He came to EPA in 1991 from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. Mr. Scaggs holds degrees in International Studies and Public Administration from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Background

The Resources and Ecosystems Sustainability, Tourist Opportunities, and Revived Economies of the Gulf Coast Act of 2012 (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 penalties resulting from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill to the Trust Fund, for restoration projects in the Gulf Coast region.

The 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 Council is chaired by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 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 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.

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