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S 861

112th CONGRESS
1st Session

S. 861

To restore the natural resources, ecosystems, fisheries, marine habitats, and coastal wetland of Gulf Coast States, to create jobs and revive the economic health of communities adversely affected by the explosion on, and sinking of, the mobile offshore drilling unit Deepwater Horizon, and for other purposes.

IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES

April 14, 2011

Ms. LANDRIEU (for herself and Mr. VITTER) introduced the following bill; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on Environment and Public Works


A BILL

To restore the natural resources, ecosystems, fisheries, marine habitats, and coastal wetland of Gulf Coast States, to create jobs and revive the economic health of communities adversely affected by the explosion on, and sinking of, the mobile offshore drilling unit Deepwater Horizon, and for other purposes.

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

    This Act may be cited as the `Resources and Ecosystems Sustainability, Tourist Opportunities, and Revived Economies of the Gulf Coast States Act of 2011'.

SEC. 2. FINDINGS.

    Congress finds that--

      (1) as a result of decades of oil and gas development in the Gulf of Mexico, producing and nonproducing States in the Gulf Coast region have borne substantial risks of environmental damage and economic harm, all of which culminated with the explosion on, and sinking of, the mobile offshore drilling unit Deepwater Horizon;

      (2) the discharge of oil in the Gulf of Mexico that began following the explosion on, and sinking of, the mobile offshore drilling unit Deepwater Horizon has caused substantial environmental destruction and economic harm to the people and communities of the Gulf Coast region;

      (3)(A) in the report entitled `America's Gulf Coast--A Long Term Recovery Plan after the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill', the Secretary of the Navy stated, `Together, the Gulf's tourism and commercial and recreational fishing industries contribute tens of billions of dollars to the U.S. economy. More than 90 percent of the nation's offshore crude oil and natural gas is produced in the Gulf, and the Federal treasury receives roughly $4.5 billion dollars every year from offshore leases and royalties. And it is in the Gulf of Mexico that nearly one third of seafood production in the continental U.S. is harvested. America needs a healthy and resilient Gulf Coast, one that can support the diverse economies, communities, and cultures of the region.';

      (B) to address the needs of the Gulf Coast region, the Secretary of the Navy stated, `It is recommended that the President urge Congress to pass legislation that would dedicate a significant amount of any civil penalties recovered under the Clean Water Act from parties responsible for the Deepwater Horizon oil spill to those directly impacted by that spill.'; and

      (C) to mitigate local challenges and help restore the resiliency of communities adversely affected by the spill, the Secretary of the Navy stated that the legislation described in subparagraph (B) should `[b]uild economic development strategies around community needs, and take particular efforts to address the needs of disadvantaged, underserved, and resource constrained communities';

      (4) in a final report to the President, the National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling--

        (A) stated, `Estimates of the cost of Gulf restoration, including but not limited to the Mississippi Delta, vary widely, but according to testimony before the Commission, full restoration of the Gulf will require $15 billion to $20 billion: a minimum of $500 million annually for 30 years.'; and

        (B) like the Secretary of the Navy, recommended that, to meet the needs described in subparagraph (A), a substantial portion of applicable penalties under the Federal Water Pollution Control Act (33 U.S.C. 1251 et seq.) be dedicated to long-term restoration of the Gulf of Mexico;

      (5) taking into account the risks borne by Gulf Coast States for decades of oil and gas development and the environmental degradation suffered by the Gulf Coast ecosystem, the amounts received by the United States as payment of administrative, civil, or criminal penalties in connection with the explosion on, and sinking of, the mobile offshore drilling unit Deepwater Horizon should be expended--

        (A) to restore the natural resources, ecosystems, fisheries, marine habitats, coastal wetland, and economy of the Gulf Coast; and

        (B) to address the associated economic harm suffered by the people and communities of the region, including especially socially vulnerable populations;

      (6) the expenditures of funds pursuant to this Act and the amendments made by this Act should be based on the best available physical, ecological, and social science;

      (7) the projects and programs authorized by this Act and the amendments made by this Act should be carried out pursuant to contracts awarded in a manner that provides a preference to individuals and entities that reside in, are headquartered in, or are principally engaged in business in a Gulf Coast State; and

      (8) Federal, State, and local officials should seek--

        (A) to leverage the financial resources made available under this Act; and

        (B) to the maximum extent practicable, to ensure that projects funded pursuant to this Act complement efforts planned or in operation to revitalize the natural resources and economic health of the Gulf Coast region, including by augmenting funding for projects underwritten by the private sector and philanthropic organizations.

SEC. 3. GULF COAST RESTORATION TRUST FUND.

    (a) Establishment- There is established in the Treasury of the United States a trust fund to be known as the `Gulf Coast Restoration Trust Fund' (referred to in this section as the `Trust Fund'), consisting of such amounts as are deposited in the Trust Fund under this Act or any other provision of law.

    (b) Transfers- The Secretary of the Treasury shall deposit in the Trust Fund an amount equal to 80 percent of all administrative, civil, and criminal penalties paid by responsible parties after the date of enactment of this Act in connection with the explosion on, and sinking of, the mobile offshore drilling unit Deepwater Horizon pursuant to a court order, negotiated settlement, or other instrument in accordance with section 311 of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act (33 U.S.C. 1321).

    (c) Expenditures- Amounts in the Trust Fund, including interest earned on advances to the Trust Fund and proceeds from investment under subsection (d), shall--

      (1) be available for expenditure, without further appropriation, solely for programs and projects to restore, protect, and make sustainable use of the natural resources, ecosystems, fisheries, marine habitats, coastal wetland, and economy of the Gulf Coast States (as defined in section 311 of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act (33 U.S.C. 1321)), in accordance with this Act and the amendments made by this Act; and

      (2) remain available until expended, without fiscal year limitation.

    (d) Investment- Amounts in the Trust Fund shall be invested in accordance with section 9702 of title 31, United States Code, and any interest on, and proceeds from, any such investment shall be credited to, and become a part of, the Trust Fund.

    (e) Administration- Not later than 180 days after the date of enactment of this Act, after providing notice and an opportunity for public comment, the Secretary of the Treasury shall establish such procedures as the Secretary determines to be necessary to deposit amounts in, and expend amounts from, the Trust Fund pursuant to this Act, including--

      (1) procedures to assess whether the programs and activities carried out under this Act and the amendments made by this Act achieve compliance with applicable requirements, including procedures by which the Secretary of the Interior may determine whether an expenditure by a Gulf Coast State (as that term is defined in section 311 of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act (33 U.S.C. 1321)) pursuant to such a program or activity achieves compliance;

      (2) auditing requirements to ensure that amounts in the Trust Fund are expended as intended; and

      (3) procedures for identification and allocation of funds available to the Secretary under other provisions of law that may be necessary to pay the administrative expenses directly attributable to the management of the Trust Fund.

SEC. 4. GULF COAST NATURAL RESOURCES RESTORATION AND ECONOMIC RECOVERY.

    Section 311 of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act (33 U.S.C. 1321) is amended--

      (1) in subsection (a)--

        (A) in paragraph (25)(B), by striking `and' at the end;

        (B) in paragraph (26)(D), by striking the period at the end and inserting a semicolon; and

        (C) by adding at the end the following:

      `(27) the term `Chairperson' means the Chairperson of the Council;

      `(28) the term `Comprehensive Plan' means the comprehensive plan developed by the Council pursuant to subsection (t);

      `(29) the term `Council' means the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council established pursuant to subsection (t);

      `(30) the term `Deepwater Horizon oil spill' means the blowout and explosion of the mobile offshore drilling unit Deepwater Horizon that occurred on April 20, 2010, and resulting hydrocarbon releases into the environment;

      `(31) the term `Gulf Coast ecosystem' means--

        `(A) the coastal zones, as that term is defined in section 304 of the Coastal Zone Management Act of 1972 (16 U.S.C. 1453) of the Gulf Coast States; and

        `(B) includes any adjacent land, water, watersheds, and areas of the outer Continental Shelf of the Gulf Coast States that--

          `(i) are within 50 miles of the coastal zones of the Gulf Coast States and have been adversely affected by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill; and

          `(ii) have been potentially affected by continued impacts relating to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill;

      `(32) the term `Gulf Coast State' means any of the States of Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas; and

      `(33) the term `Trust Fund' means the Gulf Coast Restoration Trust Fund established pursuant to section 3 of the Resources and Ecosystems Sustainability, Tourist Opportunities, and Revived Economies of the Gulf Coast States Act of 2011.';

      (2) in subsection (s), by inserting `except as provided in subsection (t)' before the period at the end; and

      (3) by adding at the end the following:

    `(t) Gulf Coast Restoration and Recovery-

      `(1) STATE ALLOCATION AND EXPENDITURES-

        `(A) IN GENERAL- Of the total amounts made available in any fiscal year from the Trust Fund, 35 percent shall be disbursed to the Gulf Coast States in equal shares for expenditure in accordance with this subsection.

        `(B) USE OF FUNDS-

          `(i) IN GENERAL- Amounts provided to the Gulf Coast States under this subsection shall be used to carry out projects and programs to restore, protect, and make sustainable use of the natural resources, ecosystems, fisheries, marine habitats, coastal wetland, and economy of the Gulf Coast.

          `(ii) ACTIVITIES- Amounts provided to the Gulf States under this subsection may be used to carry out 1 or more of the following activities:

            `(I) Coastal protection projects and activities, including conservation, coastal restoration, hurricane protection, and infrastructure directly affected by coastal wetland losses, beach erosion, and the impacts of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

            `(II) Mitigation of damage to, and restoration of, fish, wildlife, or natural resources.

            `(III) Implementation of a federally approved marine, coastal, or comprehensive conservation management plan, including fisheries monitoring.

            `(IV) Programs to promote tourism in a Gulf Coast State.

            `(V) Programs to promote the consumption of seafood produced from the Gulf Coast ecosystem or adjacent Federal waters.

            `(VI) Planning assistance and the administrative costs of complying with this subsection.

        `(C) CONDITIONS- As a condition of receiving amounts from the Trust Fund, the Governor of a Gulf Coast State, in consultation with the appropriate State entity, including the entities described in subparagraph (D), shall--

          `(i) agree to meet such conditions, including audit requirements, as the Secretary of the Treasury determines necessary to ensure that amounts disbursed from the Trust Fund will be used in accordance with this subsection;

          `(ii) certify in such form and in such manner as the Secretary of the Treasury determines necessary that the project or program for which the Governor is requesting amounts--

            `(I) is designed to restore, protect, and make sustainable use of the natural resources, ecosystems, fisheries, marine habitats, coastal wetland, and economy of the Gulf Coast;

            `(II) carries out 1 or more of the activities described in subparagraph (B);

            `(III) was selected based on meaningful input from the public, including broad-based participation from individuals, businesses, and nonprofit organizations; and

            `(IV) in the case of a natural resource, is based on the best available science; and

          `(iii) certify that the project or program and the awarding of a contract for the expenditure of amounts received under this subsection are consistent with the standard procurement rules and regulations governing a comparable project or program in that State, including all applicable competitive bidding and audit requirements.

        `(D) APPROVAL BY STATE ENTITY, TASK FORCE, OR AGENCY- The following Gulf Coast State entities, task forces, or agencies shall be consulted by the applicable Gulf Coast State Governor in carrying out subparagraph (C):

          `(i) In the State of Alabama, the Port Authority of Alabama.

          `(ii) In the State of Louisiana, the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority of Louisiana.

        `(E) COMPLIANCE WITH CONDITIONS- If the Secretary of the Treasury determines that an expenditure by a Gulf Coast State of amounts made available under this subsection does not meet the conditions of this subsection, the Secretary shall make no additional amounts from the Trust Fund available to that Gulf Coast State until such time as an amount equal to the amount expended for the unauthorized use--

          `(i) has been deposited by the Gulf Coast State in the Trust Fund; or

          `(ii) has been authorized by the Secretary of the Treasury for expenditure by the Gulf Coast State for a project or program that meets the requirements of this subsection.

        `(F) PUBLIC INPUT- In meeting any condition of this subsection, the Governor of a Gulf Coast State may use any procedure appropriate in that Gulf Coast State, including consulting with 1 or more established task forces or other entities, to develop recommendations for proposed projects and programs that would restore, protect, and make sustainable use of the natural resources, ecosystems, fisheries, marine habitats, coastal wetland, and economy of the Gulf Coast.

        `(G) PREVIOUSLY APPROVED PROJECTS AND PROGRAMS- The Governor of a Gulf Coast State shall be considered to have met the conditions of subparagraph (C) for a specific project or program if, before the date of enactment of the Resources and Ecosystems Sustainability, Tourist Opportunities, and Revived Economies of the Gulf Coast States Act of 2011--

          `(i) the Gulf Coast State has established conditions for carrying out projects and programs that are similar to the conditions described in subparagraph (C); and

          `(ii) the applicable project or program carries out 1 or more of the activities described in subparagraph (B)(ii).

        `(H) CONSULTATION WITH COUNCIL- In carrying out this subsection, each Governor of a Gulf Coast State shall seek the input of the Chairperson of the Council to identify large-scale projects that may be jointly supported by that Gulf Coast State and by the Council pursuant to the Comprehensive Plan with amounts provided under this subsection.

        `(I) NON-FEDERAL MATCHING FUNDS- A Governor of a Gulf Coast State may use, in whole or in part, amounts made available to that Gulf Coast State from the Trust Fund to satisfy the non-Federal share of the cost of any project or program authorized by Federal law that meets the use requirements under subparagraph (B)(i).

        `(J) LOCAL PREFERENCE- In awarding contracts to carry out a project or program under this subsection, a Governor of a Gulf Coast State may give a preference to individuals and companies that reside in, are headquartered in, or are principally engaged in business in, a Gulf Coast State.

      `(2) COUNCIL ESTABLISHMENT AND ALLOCATION-

        `(A) IN GENERAL- Of the total amount made available in any fiscal year from the Trust Fund, 60 percent shall be disbursed to the Council to carry out the Comprehensive Plan.

        `(B) COUNCIL EXPENDITURES-

          `(i) IN GENERAL- In accordance with this paragraph, the Chairperson shall select, and the Council shall undertake, projects and programs that would restore and protect the natural resources, ecosystems, fisheries, marine habitats, and coastal wetland of the Gulf Coast.

          `(ii) ALLOCATION AND EXPENDITURE PROCEDURES- The Secretary of the Treasury shall develop such conditions, including audit requirements, as the Secretary of the Treasury determines necessary to ensure that amounts disbursed from the Trust Fund to the Council to implement the Comprehensive Plan will be used in accordance with this paragraph.

        `(C) GULF COAST ECOSYSTEM RESTORATION COUNCIL-

          `(i) ESTABLISHMENT- There is established as an independent entity in the Federal Government a council to be known as the `Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council'.

          `(ii) MEMBERSHIP- The Council shall consist of the following members, or in the case of a Federal agency, a designee at the level of the Assistant Secretary or the equivalent:

            `(I) The Chair of the Council on Environmental Quality.

            `(II) The Secretary of the Interior.

            `(III) The Secretary of the Army.

            `(IV) The Secretary of Commerce.

            `(V) The Secretary of Agriculture.

            `(VI) The Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency.

            `(VII) The Secretary of Homeland Security.

            `(VIII) The Secretary of Energy.

            `(IX) The Governor of the State of Alabama.

            `(X) The Governor of the State of Florida.

            `(XI) The Governor of the State of Louisiana.

            `(XII) The Governor of the State of Mississippi.

            `(XIII) The Governor of the State of Texas.

          `(iii) CHAIRPERSON- From among the Federal agency members of the Council, the Council shall select, and the President shall appoint, 1 member to serve as Chairperson of the Council.

          `(iv) DUTIES OF COUNCIL- The Council shall--

            `(I) consult with, and provide recommendations to, the Chairperson during development of a preliminary plan, the Comprehensive Plan, and future revisions to the Comprehensive Plan;

            `(II) identify as soon as practicable the projects that--

`(aa) have been authorized prior to the date of enactment of this subsection but not yet commenced; and

`(bb) if implemented quickly, would restore and protect the natural resources, ecosystems, fisheries, marine habitats, and coastal wetland of the Gulf Coast ecosystem;

            `(III) coordinate the development of consistent policies, strategies, plans, and activities by Federal agencies, State and local governments, and private sector entities for addressing the restoration and protection of the Gulf Coast ecosystem;

            `(IV) establish such other advisory committee or committees as may be necessary to assist the Council, including to address public policy and scientific issues;

            `(V) coordinate scientific and other research associated with restoration of the Gulf Coast ecosystem;

            `(VI) seek to ensure that all policies, strategies, plans, and activities for addressing the restoration of the Gulf Coast ecosystem are based on the best available physical, ecological, and social science;

            `(VII) make recommendations to address the particular needs of especially socially vulnerable populations;

            `(VIII) develop standard terms to include in contracts for projects and programs awarded pursuant to the Comprehensive Plan that provide a preference to individuals and companies that reside in, are headquartered in, or are principally engaged in business in, a Gulf Coast State;

            `(IX) prepare an integrated financial plan and recommendations for coordinated budget requests for the amounts proposed to be expended by the Federal agencies represented on the Council for projects and programs in the Gulf Coast States; and

            `(X) submit an annual report to Congress that--

`(aa) summarizes the policies, strategies, plans, and activities for addressing the restoration and protection of the Gulf Coast ecosystem;

`(bb) describes the projects and programs being implemented to restore and protect the Gulf Coast ecosystem; and

`(cc) makes such recommendations to Congress for modifications of existing laws as the Council determines necessary to achieve the purposes of the Resources and Ecosystems Sustainability, Tourist Opportunities, and Revived Economies of the Gulf Coast States Act of 2011.

          `(v) APPLICATION OF FEDERAL ADVISORY COMMITTEE ACT- The Council, or any other advisory committee established under this subsection, shall not be considered an advisory committee under the Federal Advisory Committee Act (5 U.S.C. App.).

        `(D) COMPREHENSIVE PLAN-

          `(i) PROPOSED PLAN-

            `(I) IN GENERAL- Not later than 180 days after the date of enactment of the Resources and Ecosystems Sustainability, Tourist Opportunities, and Revived Economies of the Gulf Coast States Act of 2011, the Chairperson, on behalf of the Council, shall publish a proposed plan to restore and protect the natural resources, ecosystems, fisheries, marine habitats, and coastal wetland of the Gulf Coast ecosystem.

            `(II) CONTENTS- The proposed plan described in subclause (I) shall include and incorporate the findings and information prepared by the President's Gulf Coast Restoration Task Force.

          `(ii) PUBLICATION-

            `(I) INITIAL PLAN- Not later than 1 year after date of enactment of the Resources and Ecosystems Sustainability, Tourist Opportunities, and Revived Economies of the Gulf Coast States Act of 2011 and after notice and opportunity for public comment, the Chairperson, on behalf of the Council, shall publish in the Federal Register the initial Comprehensive Plan to restore and protect the natural resources, ecosystems, fisheries, marine habitats, and coastal wetland of the Gulf Coast ecosystem.

            `(II) COOPERATION WITH GULF COAST RESTORATION TASK FORCE- The Council shall develop the initial Comprehensive Plan in close coordination with the President's Gulf Coast Restoration Task Force.

            `(III) CONSIDERATIONS- In developing the initial Comprehensive Plan, the Council shall consider any finding or report submitted by a center of excellence participating in the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Science, Monitoring, and Technology Program established pursuant to section 5(c) of the Resources and Ecosystems Sustainability, Tourist Opportunities, and Revived Economies of the Gulf Coast States Act of 2011.

            `(IV) CONTENTS- The initial Comprehensive Plan shall include--

`(aa) such provisions as are necessary to fully incorporate in the Comprehensive Plan the strategy, projects, and programs recommended by the President's Gulf Coast Restoration Task Force;

`(bb) a list of any project or program authorized prior to the date of enactment of this subsection but not yet commenced, the completion of which would further the purposes and goals of this subsection and of the Resources and Ecosystems Sustainability, Tourist Opportunities, and Revived Economies of the Gulf Coast States Act of 2011;

`(cc) a description of the manner in which amounts from the Trust Fund projected to be made available to the Council for the succeeding 10 years will be allocated; and

`(dd) a list of specific projects and programs to be funded and carried out during the 3-year period immediately following the date of publication of the initial Comprehensive Plan, including a table that illustrates the distribution of projects and programs by Gulf Coast State.

            `(V) PLAN UPDATES- The Council shall update--

`(aa) the Comprehensive Plan every 5 years in a manner comparable to the manner established in this subsection for each 5-year period for which amounts are expected to be made available to the Gulf Coast States from the Trust Fund; and

`(bb) the 3-year list of projects and programs described in subclause (IV)(dd) annually.

          `(iii) RESTORATION PRIORITIES- Except for projects and programs described in subclause (IV)(bb), in selecting projects and programs to include on the 3-year list described in subclause (IV)(dd), based on the best available science, the Council shall give highest priority to--

            `(I) projects that are projected to make the greatest contribution to restoring and protecting the natural resources, ecosystems, fisheries, marine habitats, and coastal wetland of the Gulf Coast ecosystem, without regard to geographic location;

            `(II) large-scale projects and programs that--

`(aa) are not likely to be funded under other environmental restoration and protection programs authorized in the Gulf Coast States; and

`(bb) are projected to substantially contribute to restoring and protecting the natural resources, ecosystems, fisheries, marine habitats, and coastal wetland of the Gulf Coast ecosystem; and

            `(III) existing Gulf Coast State comprehensive plans for the restoration and protection of natural resources, ecosystems, fisheries, marine habitats, and coastal wetland of the Gulf Coast ecosystem.

        `(E) IMPLEMENTATION-

          `(i) IN GENERAL- The Council, acting through the member agencies and Gulf Coast States, may carry out projects and programs adopted in the Comprehensive Plan.

          `(ii) ADMINISTRATIVE RESPONSIBILITY-

            `(I) IN GENERAL- Primary authority and responsibility for each project and program included in the Comprehensive Plan shall be assigned by the Chairperson to an agency or a Gulf Coast State represented on the Council.

            `(II) TRANSFER OF AMOUNTS- Amounts necessary to carry out each project or program included in the Comprehensive Plan shall be transferred by the Secretary of the Treasury from the Trust Fund to that Federal agency or Gulf Coast State as the project or program is implemented, subject to such conditions as the Secretary of the Treasury established pursuant to section 3 of the Resources and Ecosystems Sustainability, Tourist Opportunities, and Revived Economies of the Gulf Coast States Act of 2011.

          `(iii) COST SHARING-

            `(I) IN GENERAL- A Gulf Coast State may use, in whole or in part, amounts made available to that Gulf Coast State from the Trust Fund to satisfy the non-Federal share of the cost of carrying a project or program that--

`(aa) is authorized by other Federal law; and

`(bb) meets the criteria of this paragraph.

            `(II) INCLUSION IN COMPREHENSIVE PLAN- A project or program described in subclause (I) shall be selected and adopted by the Council as part of the Comprehensive Plan in the manner described in this paragraph.

        `(F) COORDINATION- The Council and the Federal members of the Council may develop Memorandums of Understanding establishing integrated funding and implementation plans among the member agencies and authorities.'.

SEC. 5. GULF COAST ECOSYSTEM RESTORATION SCIENCE, MONITORING, AND TECHNOLOGY PROGRAM.

    (a) Definitions- In this section:

      (1) ADMINISTRATOR- The term `Administrator' means the Administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

      (2) PROGRAM- The term `Program' means the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Science, Monitoring, and Technology Program established by subsection (b).

    (b) Establishment- There is established within the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration a program to be known as the `Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Science, Monitoring, and Technology Program', to be carried out by the Administrator.

    (c) Centers of Excellence-

      (1) IN GENERAL- In carrying out the Program, the Administrator shall make grants in accordance with paragraph (2) to establish and operate 5 centers of excellence, 1 of which shall be located in each of the States of Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas.

      (2) GRANTS-

        (A) IN GENERAL- The Administrator shall use the amounts made available to carry out this section to award competitive grants to nongovernmental entities and consortia in the Gulf Coast region (including public and private institutions of higher education) for the establishment of centers of excellence as described in paragraph (1).

        (B) APPLICATION- To be eligible to receive a grant under this paragraph, an entity or consortium described in subparagraph (A) shall submit to the Administrator an application at such time, in such manner, and containing such information as the Administrator determines to be appropriate.

        (C) PRIORITY- In awarding grants under this paragraph, the Administrator shall give priority to entities and consortia that demonstrate the ability to establish the broadest cross-section of participants with interest and expertise in any discipline described in paragraph (3) on which the proposed curriculum of the center of excellence will be focused.

      (3) DISCIPLINES- Each center of excellence shall focus the curriculum of the center on science, technology, and monitoring in at least 1 of the following disciplines:

        (A) Coastal wetland restoration and protection.

        (B) Coastal and marine fisheries and wildlife ecosystem research, monitoring, mapping, and recovery.

        (C) Offshore energy development, including research and technology to improve the safety in exploration and development of oil and gas resources.

        (D) Sustainable growth, economic, and commercial development.

        (E) Port, harbor, and waterway construction and maintenance.

      (4) COORDINATION WITH OTHER PROGRAMS- The Administrator shall develop a plan for the coordination of projects and activities between the Program and other existing Federal and State science and technology programs in the States of Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas.

    (d) Funding- Except as provided in subsection (t)(4) of section 311 of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act (33 U.S.C. 1321), of the total amount made available for each fiscal year for the Gulf Coast Restoration Trust Fund established under section 3, 5 percent shall be allocated to the Program.

END