Spurred by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, the Resources and Ecosystems Sustainability, Tourist Opportunities, and Revived Economies of the Gulf Coast States Act (RESTORE Act) was signed into law by President Obama on July 6, 2012. The RESTORE Act calls for a regional approach to restoring the long-term health of the valuable natural ecosystem and economy of the Gulf Coast region. The RESTORE Act dedicates 80 percent of civil and administrative penalties paid under the Clean Water Act, after the date of enactment, by responsible parties in connection with the Deepwater Horizon oil spill to the Gulf Coast Restoration Trust Fund (Trust Fund) for ecosystem restoration, economic recovery, and tourism promotion in the Gulf Coast region. This effort is in addition to the restoration of natural resources injured by the spill that is being accomplished through a separate Natural Resource Damage Assessment (NRDA) under the Oil Pollution Act. A third and related Gulf restoration effort is being administered by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) using funds from the settlement of criminal charges against BP and Transocean Deepwater, Inc.
In addition to creating the Trust Fund, the RESTORE Act established the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council (Council). The Council includes the Governors of the States of Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas, as well as the Secretaries of the U.S. Departments of Agriculture, the Army, Commerce, Homeland Security, and the Interior, and the Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.