In the wake of the BP disaster, Gulf Restoration Network and many others worked tirelessly to push Congress to pass the Resources and Ecosystem Sustainability, Tourist Opportunities and Revived Economies of the Gulf Coast States Act (RESTORE Act). Passed in 2012, the RESTORE Act ensures that 80% of the Clean Water Act fines from the BP disaster are returned to the Gulf for community and environmental restoration. Without RESTORE, billions of dollars in fines from the disaster would have gone to the federal government, rather than the states and region most impacted by BP’s oil.
In July 2015, the federal government, Gulf States and BP reached a universal settlement including natural resource damages, Clean Water Act fines and other claims related to the BP drilling disaster. The money from this settlement, along with a previous settlement with Transocean, will allow for a total of $5.2 billion to flow to the Gulf through the RESTORE Act. Moving forward, GRN will continue to watchdog this process to ensure accountability and transparency for the people of the Gulf, and ultimately work to make sure these funds are spent on effective restoration of the Gulf and its communities.