Sen. Nelson Talks RESTORE Act Funds

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PANAMA CITY-- Florida officials could find out as soon as Friday how they'll be able to use RESTORE Act money. U.S. Senator Bill Nelson announced the latest developments Wednesday. The money from the BP oil spill could be anywhere from 5 to 17 billion dollars.

Sen. Nelson said, "Washington is going to release their proposed rules, on the release of the first truant of money, which is something just shy of a billion dollars and that will be coming out within the next few days."

The RESTORE Act establishes a pool of money from BP to help state's recover from the 2010 Deep Water Horizon oil rig explosion and spill. When it was signed into law two years ago, officials expected the money to flow immediately. That has yet to happen. but it appears the day has finally arrived.

"The big money that is coming is from Judge Barbier, the Federal District Judge. The trial is still on-going and that can end up anywhere from a 5 billion dollar civil fund all the way to a 20 billion dollar civil fund," He said.

Nelson also says the government will be very specific about who's going to receive the money and how it can be spent. "I specifically wrote the law so that it would come to the local county governments, they where the ones that were harmed. Overall, money is for environmental restoration, economic, restoration and re-establishment of a tourism economy that had been hurt," Nelson explained.

He says Florida will start to see movement on the RESTORE Act by the end of this week or early next week.

Bay County's share of RESTORE Act funds could be in the 10's of millions of dollars.