Congress could soon pass legislation dividing fines from the 2010 BP oil spill among the five affected Gulf Coast states. Lawmakers, business owners and scientists discussed what to do with the billions of dollars Florida could stand to receive under the RESTORE Act at the Gulf Coast Restoration Summit in Destin on June 11.
More than two years after the Deep Horizon oil rig disaster, relief money for Florida and other Gulf Coast states is on the table in Congress. The Senate passed the RESTORE Act earlier this year.
Now, the House version is in a conference committee. Fla. State Rep. Doug Broxson, of Gulf Breeze, says if the act passes, the billions of dollars Florida stands to receive should mostly be used to promote tourism in the Panhandle.
“If we don’t do that, and we use it for general infrastructure within the eight counties, then we will look back in 10 years and the money will be gone and there will be no proof that this ever happened," he said.
Any projects funded with RESTORE Act money would need approval from Fla. Gov. Rick Scott. If the act does not pass, the issue could be delayed until after the presidential election.