Interior Department Distributes Restoration Funds

Funds coming from offshore oil and gas revenues.

The Department of Interior will devote a half a billion dollars to help restore and protect coastal wetlands, wildlife habitat and marine areas. The money will come from offshore oil and gas revenues in fiscal years 2009 and 2010. According to Interior Secretary Ken Salazar the funds are available for approved uses by Alabama, Alaska, California, Louisiana, Mississippi, Texas and their coastal local governments. The largest portion of the funds will go to Louisiana.

The Coastal Impact Assistance Program, mandated by the Energy Policy Act of 2005 and administered by Interior's Minerals Management Service, authorizes funds to be distributed to states adjacent to Outer Continental Shelf oil and gas producing areas to mitigate the impacts of that energy development on marine and coastal areas.

The Energy Policy Act requires that all program funding be used for projects and activities for the conservation, protection, or restoration of coastal areas, including wetlands; mitigation of damage to fish, wildlife, or natural resources; implementation of a federally-approved marine, coastal, or comprehensive conservation management plan; or mitigation of the impact of Outer Continental Shelf activities through funding of onshore infrastructure projects and public service needs.

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