Protecting RESTORE Act Funding

Leaders from the 8 panhandle coastal counties, most affected by the BP oil spill, took steps Monday to protect RESTORE Act funding.
They held an emergency meeting with lawmakers in Tallahassee to discuss several bills that some believe would put that funding at risk.
They are concerned about a proposal introduced last week in the state senate, it would create Triumph Gulf Coast, Inc., a quasi-governmental entity, to receive and redistribute any claims the state receives from the BP spill.
Locals argued the money from the RESTORE Act should not be included, since the federal government has already set up the distribution of that money.
They also got some help from the state's congressional delegation who said the state has no say-so over the RESTORE Act money.
"The bill last week caused concern,” said Valerie Sale, the Bay County public information officer. “The amendment removes any mention of the RESTORE Act from the original bill."
Bay County Commissioner Mike Thomas and County Manager Ed Smith attended Monday’s the emergency meeting.
"We passed a resolution in support of the bills on the floor right now to be voted on and make sure no effect at all on the restore money that would come to Florida," said Thomas.
Bay County's share of RESTORE Act money ranges from $31-126 million, depending on the amount of Clean Water fines BP pays.

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