RESTORE Act

Courtesy Photo

More than two years after tar balls washed ashore on Gulf Coast beaches, then-President Barack Obama signed the RESTORE Act into law on July 6, 2012. 

As part of the look back on the 10th anniversary of the BP oil spill into the Gulf of Mexico, WUWF’s Dave Dunwoody sat down with former U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, the force behind the RESTORE Act.

Four teams of scientists are sharing $15.5 million in BP oil spill money to study the sustainability of fish, other sea life, and birds in regard to the Gulf of Mexico.

Two of the teams are from Florida, including the state’s Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, which will receive the largest grant, about $6 million. Lead researcher Luiz Barbieri says the money’s coming through NOAA -- the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

myescambia.com

Public comment is being gathered through early March on plans to remove sediments from Bayou Chico using funds from the BP oil spill settlement.

The draft plan includes $12.6 million from the Gulf Consortium for the Bayou Chico Contaminated Sediment Remediation Project.

Emerald Coastkeepers

Volunteers are being sought for this weekend’s groundbreaking cleanup of Carpenter Creek, which has been under siege from neglect for decades.

Talk to anyone involved with the project and they’ll tell you that cleaning up the creek is a major undertaking that’s way past overdue.

“We’ve been working on that for over a year now; every 5-6 weeks we’ve been out there, probably 40-50 of us, sometimes larger groups out there,” said Emerald Coastkeeper Laurie Murphy, a project organizer.

Escambia County residents have until July 19 to weigh in on how the more than $8 million in RESTORE Act money should be spent.

The 45-day public comment period is mandated under U.S. Treasury Department rules, in regard to ten projects that have been culled from the 124 submitted to the County Commission.

Google Maps

After years of neglect and pollution, work is underway to restore Carpenter Creek. Organizers are looking for a little help from their friends, and others.

Originating from a spring north of I-10, the creek meanders through Pensacola, especially the northeast portion, and empties into Bayou Texar. It’s been the victim of neglect for decades, but one local official wants to change that.

Pensacola City Councilwoman Sherri Myers says today, Carpenter Creek is considered an impaired body of water.

  In this week’s Economic Report, Dr. Rick Harper discusses what Memorial Day tourism numbers are telling us about the 2016 tourist season. He also talks about the potential threat the Zika virus poses to Florida tourism, and he discusses new grants that could benefit the Gulf of Mexico’s ecosystem.

 

The Memorial Day holiday signaled the beginning of the 2016 tourist season, and it looks like the area is off to a good start.

 

Photo via Flickr// Green Fire Productions / https://flic.kr/p/bN5Djz

A federal judge in New Orleans has granted final approval to an estimated $20 billion settlement, resolving years of litigation over the 2010 BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier's order was released Monday, six years to the month when Deepwater Horizon exploded, killing 11 workers and spewing 134 million gallons of crude oil into the Gulf of Mexico. Escambia County Commission Chairman Grover Robinson says it’s been a long time coming.

Adventures of KM&G-Morris Follow / https://flic.kr/p/5kxHYx

After three years of meetings, Escambia County’s RESTORE Advisory Committee is out with its final rankings of projects seeking money from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster.

The 124 projects were initially ranked last fall and re-ranked over the past few weeks. Committee member Christian Wagley says what stands out about the process of identifying the top-ranking projects, is that the community wants those which multitask.

Three Escambia County projects out of 124 proposed for RESTORE Act funding are getting the backing of the Greater Pensacola Chamber of Commerce.

Under the court settlement with BP over the 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, Florida is getting $3.25 billion: $2 billion for economic losses, and $1.25 billion for natural resource claims. Northwest Florida gets most of that, including $70 million for Escambia County.

Photo by Steve Droter/Chesapeake Bay Program / https://flic.kr/p/C4gy6E

Fifteen projects approved by the Santa Rosa County Commission to share $4.3 million in RESTORE Act funding are now up for federal scrutiny.

Water quality enhancements, oyster bed development, and a job training program are among the projects being green-lighted. Commissioner Lane Lynchard, a member of the county’s RESTORE Council, says this is the culmination of a three-year process.

Santa Rosa County

Hunter Walker is wrapping up work as Santa Rosa County Administrator. In a final conversation with WUWF before leaving the post, he looked back at his 20 years on the job.

“Twenty years is a long time; that’s a generation,” said Walker. “The county’s changed a lot. I turned 65 in October so it seemed time.”

Walker has seen a lot of changes in Santa Rosa County during the past two decades, noting that the population was approaching 100,000 in the mid 1990’s, when he arrived. Now, approximately 163,000 people live in Santa Rosa.

Flickr//Andrew Bardwell

As part of WUWF’s look ahead to 2016, Dave Dunwoody recently sat down with Grover Robinson. In November, Robinson again took over as chairman of the Escambia County Commission.

“I’m hoping this time we don’t have an oil spill or some other natural disaster like the last time when I was chair,” said Robinson, noting that plans for rebuilding the Escambia County Jail Central Booking facility that was destroyed in a gas explosion during Pensacola’s April 30, 2014 flood event.

Lindsay Myers

  The City of Pensacola has hired the first of possibly two assistant city administrators – selecting a high-profile figure from Escambia County government.

Keith Wilkins was among five finalists for the position. He’s worked for the county for the past 15 years, as the Director of the Community and Environment Department and most recently, Natural Resources Management. Pensacola Mayor Ashton Hayward says he’ll be a good fit.

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