GULF COAST — The U.S. Treasury Department says it has cleared the way for Gulf Coast state and local governments to begin applying for recovery grants through a federal RESTORE Act trust fund fed with civil penalties arising from the 2010 BP oil spill.
A department statement says that, so far, the trust fund has $653 million. That figure is expected to grow by billions.
Under rules finalized today, 35 percent of the Gulf Restoration Trust Fund will be divided equally among Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas state governments and a group of 23 Florida counties.
The federal Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council will use 30 percent for restoration and will distribute another 30 percent to the states. The remaining 5 percent is marked for research programs and monitoring.