Library of Congress Summary
The summary below was written by the Congressional Research Service, which is a nonpartisan division of the Library of Congress.
Resources and Ecosystems Sustainability, Tourist Opportunities, and Revived Economies of the Gulf Coast States Act of 2011 - Establishes the Gulf Coast Restoration Trust Fund to be available for expenditures to the Gulf Coast states of Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas solely for:
(1) coastal restoration projects and activities;
(2) mitigation of damage to, and restoration of, fish, wildlife, or natural resources;
(3) implementation of a federally approved marine, coastal, or comprehensive conservation management plan;
(4) programs to promote tourism, the consumption of seafood produced from the Gulf Coast region, and education regarding the natural resources of such region;
(5) planning assistance and administrative costs;
(6) workforce development, job creation, and other economic development projects ;
(7) improvements to state parks in coastal areas affected by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill;
(8) mitigation of the ecological and economic impact of outer Continental Shelf activities and the impacts of such oil spill or promotion of the long-term ecological or economic recovery of the Gulf Coast region through the funding of infrastructure projects; and
(9) coastal flood protection and infrastructure directly affected by coastal wetland losses, beach erosion, or the impacts of such oil spill.
Requires the Secretary to deposit in the Fund 80% of all administrative and civil penalties paid after this Act's enactment, pursuant to a court order, negotiated settlement, or other instrument in accordance with the Federal Water Pollution Control Act (commonly known as the Clean Water Act), in connection with the explosion on, and sinking of, the mobile offshore drilling unit Deepwater Horizon. Amends the Clean Water Act to require 35% of amounts made available from the Fund in any fiscal year to be available to the Gulf Coast states in equal shares for ecological and economic restoration of the Gulf Coast ecosystem.
Authorizes a governor of a Gulf Coast state, in awarding contracts for such a project or program, to give a preference to individuals and companies that reside in, are headquartered in, or are principally engaged in business in, a Gulf Coast state.
Establishes the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council to:
(1) publish a Comprehensive Plan for, and to undertake, projects and programs to restore and protect the natural resources, ecosystems, fisheries, marine and wildlife habitats, beaches, coastal wetlands, and economy of the Gulf Coast region;
(2) update such Plan every five years;
(3) coordinate the development of consistent policies, strategies, plans, and activities addressing the restoration and protection of the Gulf Coast region and associated research; and
(4) prepare an integrated financial plan and recommendations for coordinated budget requests for the amounts proposed to be expended by the federal agencies represented on the Council for projects and programs in the Gulf Coast states.
Requires 60% of the total amount made available from the Fund to be disbursed to the Council to carry out the Plan and oil spill restoration projects, programs, and activities that will improve the ecosystems or economy of the Gulf Coast region.
Establishes within the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Science, Observation, Monitoring, and Technology Program, under which the NOAA Administrator shall provide grants to establish and operate a center of excellence in each of the Gulf Coast states.
Requires each center to focus its curriculum on science, technology, and monitoring in at least one of the following:
(1) coastal and deltaic sustainability, restoration and protection;
(2) coastal fisheries and wildlife ecosystem research and monitoring;
(3) offshore energy development;
(4) sustainable and resilient growth and economic and commercial development; and
(5) comprehensive observation, monitoring, and mapping of the Gulf. Allocates 5% of Fund amounts to such Program. Establishes the Gulf of Mexico Research Endowment to be administered by the Secretary of Commerce for use in providing long-term funding for such Program. Prohibits the Gulf Coast Restoration Trust Fund from being used:
(1) for any existing or planned research headed by the NOAA, unless as agreed to in writing by the grant recipient entity;
(2) to implement existing regulations or to initiate new regulations promulgated or proposed by NOAA; or
(3) to develop or approve a new limited access privilege program (as defined under the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act) for any fishery under the jurisdiction of the South Atlantic, Mid-Atlantic, New England, or Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Councils. Requires:
(1) the Council to establish a fishery and ecosystem endowment to ensure the long-term sustainability of the ecosystem, fish stocks, the fish habitat, and the recreational, commercial, and charter fishing industry in the Gulf of Mexico; and
(2) NOAA to administer such endowment.
Prohibits funds made available under this Act from being used for federal land acquisition.
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