On October 1, 2019, the United States Department of Treasury, in cooperation with the Alabama Gulf Coast Recovery Council (AGCRC) and the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (ADCNR) awarded the Dauphin Island Sea Lab (DISL) to be the home for Alabama’s Center of Excellence (ALCoE). Alabama’s Center of Excellence will build upon the network of experts from the Marine Environmental Sciences Consortium (MESC), the Mobile Bay National Estuary Program (MBNEP), and the Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant Consortium (MASGC).
ALCoE will implement a competitive grant program that awards $4.5 million in RESTORE Act funds to academic institutions in Alabama to perform cutting edge, forward-looking, scientific research over the next 3 years. Data and information generated by the Center of Excellence funded research will help provide science-driven solutions and recommendations for current and future conditions in coastal Alabama.
The Resources and Ecosystems Sustainability, Tourist Opportunities, and Revived Economies of the Gulf Coast States Act of 2012 (RESTORE Act, P.L. 112-141), established a Gulf Coast Restoration Trust Fund (Trust Fund) in the Treasury of the United States. Eighty percent of the civil penalties paid after July 6, 2012, under the Federal Water Pollution Control Act (33 U.S.C. 1321) in connection with the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill will be deposited into this Trust Fund. BP made its first annual payment to the Trust Fund in April 2017 and is expected to continue to make annual payments through mid-2031. The Trust Fund total, currently at $ 2.1 billion, also includes Transocean and Anadarko civil penalty and penalty interest payments. On December 14, 2015, the U.S. Department of Treasury released the Final Rulemaking for the RESTORE Act (at 31 C.F.R. Part 34). This Rulemaking is available, along with the original RESTORE Act legislation, via Treasury’s RESTORE Act Website. RESTORE Act programs consist of five components, including the Centers of Excellence Research Grant Program (CERGP) (RESTORE Act regulations, sub-part H, section §34.700), to receive 2.5% of Trust Fund principal plus 50% of the interest accrued, divided equally among the five eligible Gulf Coast state entities specified at 31 C.F.R. § 34.702.