The states’ environmental agency has officially requested that tens of millions of dollars in local projects be funded by the Restore Act, a federal fund created after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in 2010.
The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality announced Tuesday it had sent a list of 26 projects to the U.S. Department of the Treasury as part of a final proposal for the first allocation of the funds.
The list includes $114.2 million in projects, although the commission said it was only eligible for about $85 million in funding right now.
The package “signifies an investment in projects that have the support of the public, as well as federal state and local elected officials,” TCEQ Commissioner Toby Baker said.
The commission advertised and sought comment on proposed projects earlier this year.
Among the local projects included in the commission’s proposal is $9 million for continued beach construction at Babe’s Beach, which is in front of the Galveston Seawall west of 61st Street.
It also includes $1.5 million for the first phase of a proposed educational pavilion at the East End Lagoon, a natural habitat on the far eastern end of Seawall Boulevard.
Both of those projects were proposed by the Galveston Island Park Board of Trustees.
“We’re very excited,” said Kelly de Schaun, the executive director of the park board. “We think this is big news for us.”
The park board rallied local support for the projects during the public comment period, de Schaun said. She was relieved to see the proposals made what is essentially a final cut.
The latest plan also calls for $7 million to remove unauthorized oil and gas well stubs in Galveston and Nueces counties; $417,000 to help develop a coastal tourism marketing and way-finding plan; $6.3 million for a nature trail on Bolivar Peninsula, and $6.6 million for repairs to Texas City’s hurricane levee.
The environmental commission stressed in its announcement that the plan still needed to be accepted by federal officials — who will check it for compliance with rules set out by the Restore Act.
The money from the act is supposed to go toward coastal areas where environmental and economic damage occurred because of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill.
The four-month spill, which occurred after a deadly explosion at an oil platform off the coast of Louisiana, released more than 210 million gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico.
Tuesday’s announcement comes two weeks after six local projects were slated to be funded by a different portion of funds created in the aftermath of the massive oil spill.