Wicker, Cochran Encourage Public Comment on Restore Act Rule

One-Month Public Comment Period for Rule Governing BP Oil Spill Funds for Mississippi, Gulf Coast States

September 30, 2015

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Roger Wicker, R-Miss., and Thad Cochran, R-Miss., today encouraged Mississippians to actively participate in a month-long public comment period on a proposed rule regarding the distribution and use of settlement funds derived from the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

Pursuant to the RESTORE Act of 2012, which Wicker and Cochran helped write, the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council has issued a proposed regulation to implement the law’s Spill Impact Component. The regulation, when finalized, will set the formula for allocating Gulf Coast Restoration Trust Fund monies to Mississippi, Louisiana, Alabama, Texas and Florida.

“It is important for Mississippians to take advantage of their ability to comment during this month-long review period of the RESTORE Act rule,” Wicker said. “This funding formula affects economic and ecological recovery projects that are beneficial to Mississippi and other Gulf Coast states.”

“The public review and comment period is an important step in moving the restoration process forward. It is a key time for Mississippians to review the proposed rule to determine that it will truly help our state recover from the Deepwater Horizon disaster,” Cochran said.

By law, the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council must develop a formula for the distribution of funding under the Spill Impact Component of the law. In general, the proposed regulation is based on affected shoreline in each state, coastal county population, and distance to the BP Deepwater Horizon platform that exploded on April 10, 2010.

Under this proposed rule Mississippi would receive an estimated 19.07 percent of the allocation from the Trust Fund for the Oil Spill Impact Component.

The proposed rule from the Federal Register is available here: http://1.usa.gov/1h89Vjf

The public has until midnight Oct. 28, 2015, to comment on the rule. Comments can be submitted electronically to frcomments@restorethegulf.gov or by mailing them to Gulf Coast Ecosystems Restoration Council, Hale Boggs Federal Building 500 Poydras St., Suite 1117, New Orleans, La. 70130. All material submitted will become part of the public record.

• Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council: http://www.restorethegulf.gov/