Environment

RESTORE scoring sheet set, heading to commissioners

Committee's work heads to county commissioners at special meeting on April 16

Based on a weighted scoring sheet, RESTORE Act money could have the biggest impact on our community’s stormwater management and resilience from future disasters.

Those are the two most heavily weighted individual measurements in the long list of measures the RESTORE committee will use to weigh which projects merit funding from a potentially $150 million pot of oil-spill related fine money.

At an April 6 meeting, committee members declined to set aside a specific percentage of the total RESTORE funds for projects that focus on environmental needs.

They will rely, instead on the scoring sheet they finalized to help rank projects when the money begins to flow.

The citizen committee worked for nearly two years to create the scoring system, which weights environmental, economic and infrastructure categories with equal total point values. It includes a bonus point category and a baseline regulatory category.

Their work will head to Escambia County Commissioners for review at a meeting at 9 a.m. April 16 at the Pensacola Bay Center.

The committee set criteria for how money from Clean Water Act fines levied against oil giant BP related to the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill will be spent in Escambia County.

In February, the Escambia committee set the criteria in five general categories:

— Environment, 20 possible points.

— Infrastructure, 20 possible points.

— Economic, 20 possible points.

— Baseline (regulatory), 15 possible points.

— Bonus. Neighborhood, cultural, education and other needs that don’t fit the other categories, 23 possible points.

A copy of the criteria is linked here.

The RESTORE Act is the federal law that requires the bulk of fine money levied against BP for the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill disaster be spent in the areas most impacted by the spill, which resulted when the Deepwater Horizon rig blowout, which killed 11 people.