RESTORE Act

30-Day Public comment on RESTORE Act Proposed Revisions to Forms and Reports - OPEN

OMB Approval No. 1505-0250

The Department of the Treasury, as part of its continuing effort to reduce paperwork and respondent burden, invites the general public and other Federal agencies to comment on an extension of an existing information collection, as required by the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, Public Law 104–13 (44 U.S.C. 3506(c)(2)(A)).  https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2022/05/31/2022-11611/agency-information-collection-activities-proposed-collection-comment-request-restore-act-grants.  The Office of the Fiscal Assistant Secretary is soliciting comments concerning the application, reports, and recordkeeping for the Direct Component and the Centers of Excellence Research Grants Program under the Resources and Ecosystems Sustainability, Tourist Opportunities, and Revived Economies of the Gulf Coast States Act of 2012 (RESTORE Act). 

Treasury administers the Direct Component and the Centers of Excellence Research Grants Program authorized under the RESTORE Act and awards grants for these two programs from proceeds in connection with administrative and civil penalties paid after July 6, 2012, under the Federal Water Pollution Control Act relating to the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill.  The penalties are deposited into the Gulf Coast Restoration Trust Fund.  Direct Component grants are awarded to the States of Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas, and 23 Florida counties and 20 Louisiana parishes and Centers of Excellence grants are awarded to the States of Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas.  The collection information for both programs identifies the eligible recipients; describes proposed activities; determines an appropriate amount of funding; ensures compliance with the Act, Treasury’s regulations, and Federal laws and policies on grants; tracks grantee progress; and reports on the effectiveness of the programs.

REQUEST FOR COMMENT:  Please refer to the Federal Register posting 87 FR 50695.

Treasury will summarize comments submitted in response to the Federal Register Notice and include the summary in the request for Office of Management and Budget approval. Comments may become a matter of public record.  The public is invited to submit comments concerning:

  • Whether the collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the agency, including whether the information will have practical utility;
  • The accuracy of the agency’s estimate of the burden of the collection of information;
  • Ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected;
  • Ways to minimize the burden of the collection of information on respondents, including the use of automated collection techniques or other forms of information technology; and
  • Estimates of capital or start-up costs and costs of operation, maintenance, and purchase of services to provide information.

SUBMISSION OF WRITTEN COMMENTS: Written comments may be received on or before September 16, 2022 to be assured of consideration.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Copies of the submissions may be obtained from Melody Braswell by emailing PRA@treasury.gov, calling (202) 622-1035, or viewing the entire information collection request at www.reginfo.gov.
 

On April 20, 2010, an explosion on the Deepwater Horizon oil rig drilling in the Gulf of Mexico caused the largest offshore oil spill in the United States, exacerbating the effects of previous natural disasters. Oil flowed unchecked for three months. Before the well was capped, millions of barrels of crude oil were released, closing tens of thousands of square miles of Gulf of Mexico waters to fishing and causing extensive damage to marine and wildlife habitats, and tourism.

 

On July 6, 2012, the President signed into law the Resources and Ecosystems Sustainability, Tourist Opportunities, and Revived Economies of the Gulf Coast States Act (RESTORE Act). The Act established the Gulf Coast Restoration Trust Fund in the U.S. Treasury Department. Eighty percent of all administrative and civil penalties paid after July 6, 2012, by responsible parties pursuant to a court order, negotiated settlement, or other instrument, under section 311 of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act in connection with the Deepwater Horizon oil spill are deposited into the Trust Fund and invested. Under the Act, amounts in the Trust Fund will be available for programs, projects, and activities that restore and protect the environment and economy of the Gulf Coast region. Treasury’s RESTORE Act final rule at 31 C.F.R. Part 34 became effective on February 12, 2016, and was later amended to include changes to 31 C.F.R. § 34.204 regarding limitations on administrative costs and expenses.

 

The Gulf Coast Restoration Trust Fund will be distributed in the following manner:

 

 

Thirty-five percent of the penalties paid into the Trust Fund are set aside for the Direct Component, which is administered by Treasury for eligible activities proposed by the States of Alabama, Mississippi, Texas, Louisiana, twenty Louisiana parishes, and twenty-three Florida counties. Thirty percent of the penalties, plus one-half of all interest earned on Trust Fund investments are set aside for the Comprehensive Plan Component, which is administered by the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council (Council). The Council includes members from six Federal agencies or departments and the five Gulf Coast States, and directs those funds to projects and programs for the restoration of the Gulf Coast region, pursuant to a comprehensive plan approved by the Council. Under the Spill Impact Component, the Gulf Coast States can use thirty percent of the penalties in the Trust Fund for eligible activities pursuant to state expenditure plans approved by the Council. The remaining five percent of the penalties, plus one-half of all interest earned on Trust Fund investments, is divided equally between the NOAA RESTORE Act Science Program administered by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in the Department of Commerce, and the Centers of Excellence Research Grants Program administered by Treasury.

The Treasury Inspector General is authorized to conduct, supervise, and coordinate audits and investigations of projects, programs, and activities funded under the Act.

Note: Requests for reasonable accommodations under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act should be directed to Ms. Marcia Small Bowman, Office of Civil Rights and Diversity, U.S. Department of the Treasury, at marcia.smallbowman@treasury.gov.