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 Treasury Awards First Restore Act Grant for Texas Gulf Restoration Efforts

$4 million grant will go to Texas Commission on Environmental Quality to establish Centers of Excellence
WASHINGTON -- The U.S. Department of the Treasury today announced that it awarded a $4,036,238 research grant under the RESTORE Act to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ). This is the first grant awarded under the RESTORE Act. TCEQ will use these funds to establish two competitively-selected Centers of Excellence that will be funded equally. 
“This award marks the first grant under the Gulf Coast Restoration Trust Fund, and it will support environmental and economic renewal efforts in Texas, consistent with the RESTORE Act,” said David Lebryk, Fiscal Assistant Secretary. “We look forward to continuing our work with our partners in Gulf Coast communities as they apply for these grants that will support their ongoing recovery from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.”
The two Centers of Excellence include the Texas OneGulf Center of Excellence, which is a consortium led by Texas A&M University, and Subsea Systems Institute, a consortium led by the University of Houston. The Texas OneGulf Center of Excellence will focus on all five RESTORE Act eligible categories, and it will include disaster research response, coastal data integration, and a competitive grant program that addresses the environment, human health, and safety.  The Subsea Systems Institute will focus on the RESTORE Act eligible category of offshore energy development, research and technology. Subsea Systems Institute intends to improve the sustainable and safe development of energy sources in the Gulf of Mexico.  Its work will include identification and installation of early kick detection, wellbore monitoring, and blowout preventer intervention equipment for a testing and validation facility.
The Deepwater Horizon oil spill released millions of barrels of crude oil in the Gulf waters, and caused extensive damage to marine and wildlife habitats, fishing, and tourism.  On July 6, 2012, President Obama signed the RESTORE Act into law establishing a trust fund within Treasury Department with 80 percent of the civil penalties to be paid by parties responsible for the Deepwater Horizon oil spill under the Federal Water Pollution Control Act. The Treasury Department is providing grants for Centers of Excellence research programs using 2.5 percent of the Gulf Coast Restoration Trust Fund, divided equally among the five Gulf Coast States. The Centers of Excellence will focus on science, technology, and monitoring. The Treasury Department opened the process for affected Gulf Coast states and municipalities to apply for grants from the Gulf Coast Restoration Trust Fund in fall of 2014. 
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