State Level Activity
The Gulf Consortium is a public entity created in October 2012 by Inter-local Agreement among Florida's 23 Gulf Coast counties, from Escambia County in the western panhandle of Florida to Monroe County on the southern tip of Florida and the United States.
Florida’s 23 Gulf Coast Counties formed the Consortium to meet requirements of the RESTORE Act to develop a State Expenditure Plan for economic and environmental recovery of the Gulf Coast in Florida following the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. The RESTORE Act was passed by the Congress on June 29, 2012 and signed into law on July 6, 2012 by the President.
The Consortium Board of Directors consists of one representative from each county government. As a public entity, the Consortium must meet all government transparency requirements in Florida, including open public records and meetings, ethics and state auditing obligations. Since its inception, the Consortium has met seven times and held several committee meetings to begin developing Florida’s State Expenditure Plan.
To avoid duplication and to effectively utilize available resources, Florida’s local governments are working in partnership with the State of Florida to fully recover the Gulf of Mexico following the Deepwater Horizon disaster. To foster the development of the State Expenditure Plan, enhance coordination and to also ensure consistency with the goals and objectives of the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council’s Draft Initial Comprehensive Plan: Restoring the Gulf Coast’s Ecosystem and Economy, the Consortium has entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with Florida Governor Rick Scott.
Gulf Consortium Evaluation Team
The Gulf Consortium completed an exhaustive procurement process to identify a consulting team to help it develop its “State Expenditure Plan.” County Administrator Roman Gastesi was chosen as one of the five members of the Evaluation Team and Chaired the Team.
Gulf Consortium Coordination with State Partners
Since the September 17, 2014 meeting of the Board of Directors of the Gulf Consortium, several meetings have occurred that are of note.
- Florida DEP: Consortium staff met with representatives of Florida's Department of Environmental Protection and Fish and Wildlife Commission, several times to discuss the Restoration Council's draft Guidelines, the Funded Priorities List process, and topics generally impacting RESTORE Act efforts throughout Florida. Quarterly meetings are being held between Gulf Consortium and Florida DEP/FWC. Representatives of DEP are being invited to each Gulf Consortium meeting.
- Governor's Office: Monthly meetings between the Governor's Office and the Gulf Consortium staffs are being held. Representatives of the Governor's Office are being invited to each Gulf Consortium meeting.
- Restoration Council: Certain staff members for the Restoration Council are being invited to each Gulf Consortium meeting.
Mayor Neugent Testifies at Congressional Hearing on RESTORE Act
Monroe County Mayor George Neugent presented testimony to the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation hearing on Thursday, June 6, 2013 at 10:30 a.m. titled, “Gulf Restoration: A Progress Report Three Years after the Deepwater Horizon Disaster.”
This hearing was chaired by Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL) and Senator Roger Wicker (R-MS) served as ranking member. The hearing examined the progress and challenges thus far in restoring the Gulf of Mexico’s ecosystem and coastal communities following the disastrous 2010 explosion and subsequent oil spill. Mayor Neugent reported on the uniqueness of the Consortium model in the state of Florida and progress it has made to date, as well as an understanding of the perspective of local governments.