BP oil spill skimmers. Photo credit University of West Florida
When the Escambia RESTORE Advisory Committee meets at 4 p.m. Nov. 2, they'll have their work cut out for them.
It has been five years since an explosion on the Deepwater Horizon killed 11 men and caused a BP oil well to spew millions of gallons into the Gulf of Mexico. Since then the communities impacted by the spill — including Escambia and Santa Rosa counties — have been laying out their plans for how to spend compensatory funding the oil giant would pay.
Now the rubber starts meeting the road.
The RESTORE Act requires that a larger share of fines paid by BP under the Clean Water Act be spent in the counties disproportionately impacted by the spill. Escambia's share is likely to be some $58 million spread over 15 years.
The money will be an enormous impact on the future of the quality of life in the Pensacola metro area, offering the chance to undertake environmental, economic and recreational projects that could impact the area for decades to come.
With nearly $8.5 million expected to be available in the first year of funding under RESTORE, here is the top 10 list of projects after they were scored:
Download the full list here. That document also includes three examples of how funding might be distributed over the list. This example highlights in yellow projects that can be funded in that first pot of money set to come to the county through the process.