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MDEQ, DMR to administer oil spill-relief program

MISSISSIPPI GULF COAST — The Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) and the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources (DMR) have been asked by Gov. Haley Barbour to administer the $25-million Mississippi British Petroleum Deepwater Horizon Response Block Grant Program on behalf of county and municipal governments in Hancock, Harrison and Jackson counties.

This program will reimburse local governments for their expenses related to Deepwater Horizon Response activities.

“This program is good news for our coastal communities that have been stretched by these unusual circumstances. We will do our best to ensure these funds are distributed quickly to meet the needs of the cities and counties who will continue to expend significant resources,” said MDEQ executive director Trudy Fisher.

“BP has repeatedly stated that they will bring any and all resources to address the impacts of this unfortunate accident. This grant program is an example of that commitment. We appreciate BP’s action, and we at DMR will partner with MDEQ to provide these funds to our cities and counties in a timely fashion,” said Bill Walker, DMR executive director.

Affected county or municipal governments are eligible for grant awards on a cost reimbursable basis. Potential activities to be considered for funding will be evaluated on the following:

• Delivery, preparation, mitigation, response and recovery efforts to affect substantial beneficial impacts on the coastal environment from this event.

• Effective response to protect the sensitive coastal environments of Mississippi threatened by the Deep Water Horizon spill.

• Work in coordination with the efforts of the responsible party, BP.

• Administrative and operational costs incurred in management and implementation of mitigation and response strategies to combat the spill.

• Mitigating impacts from Deep Water Horizon spill based on reasonable practical and technical principles.

Applications will be evaluated by the Technical Efficacy Committee (TEC) that will make recommendations to Fisher and Walker. They will then further evaluate all proposals and approve or deny applications after considering recommendations of the TEC, agency staffs and consistency with the stated purpose of the grant program.

Eligible county or municipal governments should submit applications to: the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources, 1141 Bayview Avenue, Biloxi, 39530. The sub-grants will initially run from the date a city or county declared a state of emergency through Dec. 31, 2010. Sub-grants can be amended for additional time, if necessary.

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