The Alabama Gulf Coast Recovery Council (AGCRC) was created with the passage of the Resources and Ecosystems Sustainability, Tourist Opportunities, and Revived Economies of the Gulf Coast States Act of 2012 (RESTORE Act and Summary of RESTORE Act). This legislation was passed by Congress to steer a percentage of the civil penalties levied against the responsible parties of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon incident directly to the Gulf Coast states to assist with recovery efforts. With the third phase of the trial beginning in late January 2015, the amount of penalties that may be available to the State of Alabama and the timing of their availability remains uncertain.
The law specifically states that Alabama’s 10-member council will be chaired by Alabama’s Governor and co-chaired by the Director of the Alabama State Port Authority. Other members will be the chairman of the
Baldwin County Commission, the President of the Mobile County Commission, the mayors of Bayou La Batre, Dauphin Island, Fairhope, Gulf Shores, Mobile, and Orange Beach. The Act further stipulates that qualifying projects must reflect at least one of the following criteria:
- Restoration and protection of the natural resources, ecosystems, fisheries, marine and wildlife habitats, beaches, and
coastal wetlands of the Gulf Coast region.
- Mitigation of damage to fish, wildlife, and natural resources.
- Implementation of a federally approved marine, coastal, or comprehensive conservation management plan, including fisheries
- Workforce development and job creation.
- Improvements to or on state parks located in coastal areas affected by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.
- Infrastructure projects benefitting the economy or ecological resources, including port infrastructure.
- Coastal flood protection and related infrastructure.
- Planning assistance.
- Administrative costs (limited to not more than 3% of a state's allotment).
- Promotion of tourism in the Gulf Coast Region, including recreational fishing.
- Promotion of the consumption of seafood harvested from the Gulf Coast Region.
Notable activities to date:
- December 17, 2012 - The Council adopted By-laws (pdf) (amended December 8, 2014)
- May 10, 2013 – The Council passed a resolution adopting a Strategy Map and tapped the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (ADCNR) to serve as Administrator.
- August 15, 2013 - The Memorandum of Understanding with ADCNR was adopted (amended December 8, 2014).
- October 8, 2013 - The Council released draft Project Submission Form Guide for public comment.
- March, 2014 - The Project Submission portal went live on the Alabama Coastal Restoration website.
- August 13, 2014 - The U.S. Department of Treasury issued the RESTORE Act Interim Final Rule with an effective date of October 14, 2014.
- December 17, 2014 - The Council released Draft Project Selection Process Framework for First Round Multiyear Implementation Plan (MIP) Development for a 30-day comment period and Center of Excellence Draft Solicitation for Proposals and Draft Competitive Process for Selection for a 45-day public comment period.
- May 13, 2015 - The Council released Center of Excellence Research Grants Program Competitive Process and related Solicitation for Proposals
- May 13, 2015 - The Council began soliciting proposals from non-governmental entities and consortia, including public and private institutions of higher learning, in the Gulf Coast Region to serve as Alabama’s Center of Excellence. The solicitation period was open for over 45 days.
- December 4, 2015 - After the Marine Environmental Sciences Consortium’s (MESC) Director, Dr. John Valentine, gave a public presentation of the MESC proposal to serve as Alabama’s Center of Excellence, the Council formally accepted the proposal and asked the Administrator to proceed with drafting an agreement outlining the specific scope of work. Once the agreement is finalized, the Council will officially designate MESC as Alabama’s Center of Excellence.
- December 6, 2016 - The Council released Project Evaluation and Selection Process for Multiyear Implementation Plan (MIP) development documents and announced focus areas for the First Round MIP under the RESTORE Act Direct Component (Bucket 1) will be Economic and Infrastructure projects and related Planning Assistance. In addition, the Council announced a deadline of January 13, 2017 to have project suggestions entered in the portal for funding consideration for the First Round MIP.
To learn more about the various recovery efforts ongoing with the State of Alabama, visit: www.AlabamaCoastalRestoration.org