The Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) announced today that Mississippi’s initial State Expenditure Plan (SEP) has been approved by the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council (RESTORE Council). The $49.8 million plan describes projects and programs which Mississippi will fund under RESTORE Act.

The projects and programs identified for funding in this plan include: the Mississippi Gulf Coast Water Quality Improvement Program ($45 million), Pascagoula Oyster Reef Complex Relay and Enhancement ($3.5 million), and Compatibility, Coordination, and Restoration Planning ($1.3 million).

“Mississippi has developed a SEP that effectively addresses the requirements set forth in the RESTORE Act, Treasury regulations and SEP Guidelines. We look forward to working with Mississippi to help ensure an efficient grants process for the activities approved in the SEP,” said Ben Scaggs, Acting Executive Director, RESTORE Council.

“The RESTORE Council’s approval of this plan is another important step in Mississippi’s comprehensive restoration efforts. The plan focuses on improving water quality and marine ecosystems, and these goals were established based on public input during the plan development process,” said Marc Wyatt, Director of the MDEQ Office of Restoration.

The RESTORE Act makes available 80 percent of the Clean Water Act civil and administrative penalties paid by the responsible parties for the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. The Oil Spill Impact Component, also referred to as Bucket 3, accounts for 30 percent of the funds available in the Gulf Coast Restoration Trust Fund. The State of Mississippi, as determined by the RESTORE Act, will receive 19.07 percent of the 30 percent allocation of the Oil Spill Impact Component. The RESTORE Act required Mississippi, through MDEQ, to prepare a State Expenditure Plan describing each activity, project, or program for which Mississippi seeks funding under Bucket 3.

As part of the grant process, all activities for which funding is sought will be carefully reviewed to ensure consistency with the approved SEP, and compliance with the RESTORE Act and all other applicable requirements. Funding for implementation activities are disbursed to the state after verification of compliance with all applicable federal environmental and other laws. Funding for planning activities in the SEP will be disbursed after verification of a direct relationship to the Spill Impact Component.

Click here for project details and to view the Mississippi State Expenditure Plan.