Final Treasury Rules Released - August 21, 2014
Under the RESTORE Act, Treasury is responsible for establishing procedures, in consultation with the Interior and Commerce Departments, concerning the deposit and expenditure of amounts from the Gulf Coast Restoration Trust Fund. The Interim Final Rule fulfills this responsibility.
The Treasury Rule finalizes the percentage allocations for all funding “pots” and has determined the distribution of the currently available funds for all eligible entities. For more information, Click Here.
View the updated allocation amount for Monroe County’s Local Pot (“Direct Component”).
Treasury Rules Update - March 10, 2014
The Treasury Department issued a draft rule in September and as required solicited and received public input. Since that time, the Treasury Department has been developing a final rule, which we anticipate (at least for now) will be published in late March or April 2014. Publication of a final rule is required in order for RESTORE funding to begin to flow. The latest information we have received is that the Treasury, in the interest of expediency, will put out an initial final rule addressing programmatic basics, with subsequent detailed guidance to follow. We continue to meet with key staffers with Departments of Commerce and Interior, as well as with the Federal RESTORE Council to emphasize the issues we think will benefit the County with regard to the RESTORE program. Our main recommendations for the final rule are the following:
- Logistical Ability to Process Applications. It would be helpful for Treasury to convey how it will begin accepting applications for grant funds once the Treasury Regulations are finished. For instance, the Preamble to the Rule should state if there will be some type of streamlined application process for applicants that are initially applying for funds to start the planning process versus funds that require a more complex application process to actually start projects.
Recommendation: More specifics are needed in either the Rule or additional guidelines about what the application process is and the format for plans.
- Reimbursement of Funds Already Expended. Many local and state governments are beginning to plan for the distribution of funds incurring significant time, effort and cost so that they are ready to make an application and begin their environmental and economic recovery.
Recommendation: Clarify if reimbursement of funds already expended will immediately be available to applicants upon finalizing the Treasury Regulations.
- Additional Policies and Procedures to be Developed. It will be important to understand how any additional policies and procedures developed after the Rule is finalized will fit together cohesively. To accomplish that, the Treasury could create a schedule for developing these policies and procedures grouping them in some related way. It will also be helpful to understand if those procedures will be developed through additional federal rulemaking or some other process. With either approach, these additional policies and procedures would benefit from further comment and input from those affected and should be able to be modified, revised and updated as the program further develops.
Recommendation: Provide more details on the process for developing additional policies and procedures as well as a schedule for their creation and solicit further public review and comment.
- Review of the Treasury Regulations and Policies/Procedures. As the Gulf Restoration program will be a multiple year program gaining more momentum over time, much will be learned about receipt, expenditure and reporting processes.
Recommendation: Periodically review the regulations over a specific duration of time, for instance, no less than every two years.
US Treasury Rules for RESTORE Act:
On September 6, 2013, the US Department of Treasury published the regulations that will govern the expenditure of funds under the RESTORE Act, with a 60-day window to offer comments. The comments were due back to Treasury November 5th, 2013. Under the RESTORE Act, civil fines paid by BP will be deposited into a trust fund to be used for projects and activities that restore and protect the environment and economy of the Gulf Coast.
To summarize, the County’s comments concerned the following recommendations:
- Streamline documentation to meet requirements for plans, grant applications, environmental compliance and grant reporting.
- Provide direction on actual project implementation from the steps of inclusion in a plan to actual construction, monitoring, and assessment.
- Define all procedures now (such as the content of plans, reporting, record keeping, and auditing).
- Clarify and coordinate the steps for submitting plans, grant applications, grant awards, and ultimately, any needed approvals before funds can be disbursed.
- Better define the flow of funds through the use of advance payments and reimbursements.
- Provide reimbursement for all pre-award costs incurred to date.
- Articulate how grant awards and sub-awards will be made.
- Clearly define direct and indirect costs that are related to planning and administration.
- Create clear requirements for the content of multiyear implementation plans (“MYIPs”).
- Define the National Environmental Policy Act (“NEPA”) requirements for projects and plans.
- Define how plans can be modified and what the approval process will be for them.
- Monroe County’s Comments to the Treasury Rules