Since the RESTORE Act was signed by President Obama, lawmakers from the 5 affected Gulf Coast states have come back to the Gulf to explain what's next.
Senator Bill Nelson stopped by Panama City on Monday to meet with leaders from the Bay County Chamber of Commerce and surrounding counties to speak about the impact the RESTORE Act will have on our community.
The RESTORE Act addresses the impacts of economic and environmental damage by allocating assessed BP fines to the Gulf Coast states. Now that the President signed the bill into law, Nelson says Bay County leaders can now start thinking of projects that will be eligible for the designated funds.
"The local governments need to be identifying this and I think you'll see that. They'll start having town hall meetings and getting input from the public. The actual money will start flowing when the federal court in New Orleans approves of the fine. We're estimating the fine will be $5 billion on the low side to $20 billion."
Nelson says if a settlement is reached with BP before the trial set date, the money could be seen sooner rather than later.