[Federal Register Volume 78, Number 173 (Friday, September 6, 2013)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 54801-54813]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2013-21595]



[[Page 54801]]

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DEPARTMENT OF THE TREASURY

31 CFR Part 34

RIN 1505-AC44


Gulf Coast Restoration Trust Fund

AGENCY: Office of the Fiscal Assistant Secretary, Treasury.

ACTION: Notice of proposed rulemaking.

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SUMMARY: The Department of the Treasury is proposing regulations 
concerning the investment and use of amounts deposited in the Gulf 
Coast Restoration Trust Fund, which was established in the Treasury of 
the United States by the Resources and Ecosystem Sustainability, 
Tourist Opportunities, and Revived Economies of the Gulf Coast States 
Act of 2012 (RESTORE Act). The regulations contain procedures required 
by the RESTORE Act, and generally describe the responsibilities of 
Federal and State entities which administer RESTORE Act programs and 
carry out restoration activities in the Gulf Coast region.

DATES: Comment due date: November 5, 2013.

ADDRESSES: Treasury invites comments on the topics addressed in this 
proposed rule. Comments may be submitted through one of these methods:
    Electronic Submission of Comments: Interested persons may submit 
comments electronically through the Federal eRulemaking Portal at 
http://www.regulations.gov. Electronic submission of comments allows 
the commenter maximum time to prepare and submit a comment, ensures 
timely receipt, and enables the Department to make them available to 
the public. Comments submitted electronically through the http://www.regulations.gov Web site can be viewed by other commenters and 
interested members of the public.
    Mail: Send to Department of the Treasury, Attention Janet Vail, 
Room 2050; 1500 Pennsylvania Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20220.
    In general, Treasury will post all comments to http://www.regulations.gov without change, including any business or personal 
information provided, such as names, addresses, email addresses, or 
telephone numbers. Treasury will also make such comments available for 
public inspection and copying in Treasury's Library, Department of the 
Treasury, 1500 Pennsylvania Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20220, on 
official business days between the hours of 10:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. 
Eastern Time. You can make an appointment to inspect comments by 
telephoning (202) 622-0990. All comments received, including 
attachments and other supporting materials, will be part of the public 
record and subject to public disclosure. You should only submit 
information that you wish to make publicly available.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Please send questions by email to 
RESTOREruleQ@treasury.gov, or contact Janet Vail, 202-622-2200.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

I. Background

    On July 6, 2012, the President signed the RESTORE Act into law. The 
Act establishes a new Trust Fund in the Treasury of the United States, 
known as the Gulf Coast Restoration Trust Fund. Eighty percent of the 
administrative and civil penalties paid after July 6, 2012, under the 
Federal Water Pollution Control Act in connection with the Deepwater 
Horizon Oil Spill will be deposited into the Trust Fund and invested. 
Under terms described in the Act, amounts in the Trust Fund will be 
available for programs, projects, and activities that restore and 
protect the environment and economy of the Gulf Coast region.
    The Act is focused on the five Gulf Coast States--Alabama, Florida, 
Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas--and has five components. The Direct 
Component sets aside 35 percent of the penalties paid into the Trust 
Fund for eligible activities proposed by the five Gulf Coast States, 
including local governments within Florida and Louisiana. The 
Comprehensive Plan Component sets aside 30 percent of the penalties, 
plus half of all interest earned on Trust Fund investments, to be 
managed by a new Federal entity called the Gulf Coast Ecosystem 
Restoration Council (Council). The Council is comprised of members from 
six Federal agencies or departments and the five Gulf Coast States. One 
of the Federal members, the Secretary of Commerce, serves as 
Chairperson of the Council. The Council will direct Comprehensive Plan 
Component funds to projects and programs for the restoration of the 
Gulf Coast region, pursuant to a comprehensive plan that will be 
developed by the Council. Under the Spill Impact Component, the Gulf 
Coast States can use an additional 30 percent of penalties in the Trust 
Fund for eligible activities pursuant to plans approved by the Council. 
The remaining five percent of penalties, plus one-half of all interest 
earned on Trust Fund investments, will be divided equally between the 
NOAA RESTORE Act Science Program established by the National Oceanic 
and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and a Centers of Excellence 
Research Grants Program.
    The Act gives Treasury several roles in administering the Trust 
Fund. One role is to establish procedures, in consultation with the 
Departments of the Interior and Commerce, concerning the deposit and 
expenditure of amounts from the Trust Fund. The procedures must include 
compliance measures for the programs and activities carried out under 
the Act, as well as auditing requirements to determine whether amounts 
are expended as intended. Treasury will also administer grants for the 
Direct Component and Centers of Excellence Grant Program. The Treasury 
Inspector General is authorized to conduct, supervise, and coordinate 
audits and investigations of projects, programs, and activities funded 
under the Act. In addition, the Act requires Treasury to withhold funds 
from a Gulf Coast State, Florida county, or Louisiana parish if 
Treasury determines that Trust Fund monies have been used for an 
unauthorized purpose, or if a condition on the use of funds has been 
violated.

II. This Proposed Rule

    This proposed rule contains procedures required by the Act. The 
procedures recognize that, under the statutory scheme, many 
expenditures from the Trust Fund will be grants. The financial 
management, auditing, and reporting requirements in Federal grant law 
and policy, therefore, apply to these expenditures. Overseeing 
compliance will be a responsibility resting primarily with the Federal 
and State entities which administer grants for the programs, projects, 
and activities funded under the Act. Treasury will carry out an 
important and supplemental role in overseeing the States' compliance 
with requirements in the Comprehensive Plan Component and the Spill 
Impact Component. Treasury will receive public comments on this 
proposed rule for 60 days, and anticipates publishing binding 
procedures soon thereafter.

Trust Fund Investment

    The Act provides that amounts in the Trust Fund shall be invested 
in accordance with 31 U.S.C. 9702. Following Treasury policy for other 
Trust Funds invested under 31 U.S.C. 9702, Treasury will invest the 
Gulf Coast Restoration Trust Fund in non-marketable Treasury securities 
known as Government Account Series (GAS) securities. GAS securities are 
sold through Treasury's Federal Investment Program. Treasury policies 
and procedures for the Federal Investment

[[Page 54802]]

Program are available at http://www.treasurydirect.gov.

Direct Component

    For the Direct Component, Treasury will administer grants directly 
to the Gulf Coast States or local State governments identified in the 
RESTORE Act. The Act allocates 35 percent of amounts in the Trust Fund, 
other than interest earned on investments, to the Gulf Coast States in 
equal shares for eligible activities. Florida's entire share is further 
divided among 23 counties. Parishes in Louisiana will receive a portion 
of that State's share. The Act gives States, counties, and parishes 
significant discretion to choose restoration activities, but that 
discretion comes with limits and conditions. The Act describes the 
kinds of activities that can be funded, imposes certain financial 
restrictions, and identifies specific conditions that recipients must 
accept before receiving funds. The Act also authorizes Treasury to 
require additional conditions, including audit requirements, that apply 
to amounts disbursed from the Trust Fund.
    A Gulf Coast State, Florida county, or Louisiana parish will apply 
for funds by submitting a detailed multi-year plan describing the 
projects and programs it wants to implement. Among other things, the 
plan must describe each project and program, and provide a budget, 
milestones, and the criteria the applicant will use to evaluate 
success. Before submitting the plan, the Gulf Coast State, county, or 
parish must publish the plan for public notice and comment, a process 
that Treasury expects will enhance the transparency and quality of 
funding applications. Applicants will be required to demonstrate 
compliance with applicable environmental laws. Treasury invites comment 
on appropriate methods for ensuring full compliance with applicable 
environmental laws while also providing for timely funds disbursement 
and project implementation. After a grant agreement is signed, funds 
will be disbursed to the States, counties, and parishes as they are 
needed for authorized expenditures.
    Treasury's statutory role is not to determine which projects and 
programs will best restore the Gulf Coast region. For the Direct 
Component, Congress authorized the Gulf Coast States, Florida counties, 
and Louisiana parishes to make these choices. Instead, Treasury will 
review applications to determine that they document, with some 
specificity, compliance with eligibility and other requirements in the 
RESTORE Act and Federal laws and policies applying to grants. When 
reviewing applications, Treasury will generally avoid exercising its 
own judgment on matters requiring special expertise, such as whether a 
proposed restoration project is based on best available science. 
Treasury will consider whether the documentation submitted with the 
application, along with any comments offered during the State's public 
comment process and any written submissions from Council members, is 
sufficient for a reasonable person to find that the project or program 
meets the statutory criteria. For matters requiring special expertise, 
this approach occupies a middle ground between, on the one hand, 
accepting a submission without scrutiny, and on the other hand, 
engaging in fact-finding so that Treasury can render its own, 
independent judgment.
    Treasury's proposed regulations for the Direct Component supplement 
a framework of Federal requirements that already apply to Federal 
grants. Many of these requirements are published in circulars issued by 
the Office of Management and Budget, available at http://whitehouse.gov/omb/grants_docs/. A grant agreement between Treasury 
and the State will memorialize the grant terms, as required by Federal 
law. In addition to these standard grant terms, Treasury's proposed 
regulations include requirements specific to the RESTORE Act. We invite 
comments on the application process and on Treasury's proposed approach 
for evaluating requests for funding, particularly those elements in 
funding requests that require special expertise and judgment.
    Treasury also invites comments on the allocation of funds to 
certain counties in Florida and the parishes in Louisiana. The Act 
makes funds available to fifteen Florida counties based on a weighted 
formula that generally takes into account the average population in the 
county, sales tax collections, and the distance between the counties' 
shoreline and the Deepwater Horizon oil rig. These fifteen counties 
have proposed an allocation methodology that can be found at http://www.fl-counties.com/advocacy/gulf-consortium. The Act also provides a 
share to certain Louisiana parishes according to a weighted formula. 
This formula requires inputs about the weighted average miles of parish 
shoreline oiled, the weighted average of population of the parish, and 
the weighted average of the land mass of the parish. We invite comments 
on the best methodology for determining the facts under both formulas.

Comprehensive Plan Component

    The Act provides 30 percent of penalties deposited into the Trust 
Fund to the Council, plus one-half of the interest earned on Trust Fund 
investments, to carry out a Comprehensive Plan. The Plan will include a 
prioritized list of specific projects and programs to be funded and 
carried out, subject to available funding, within the first three 
years, a projection for how amounts available to the Council will be 
used in the first ten years, and periodic updates. The Council, acting 
through the Federal agencies and Gulf Coast States represented on the 
Council, will expend funds to carry out these projects and programs.
    The Act describes the Council's responsibilities in detail, 
including provisions on how the Council will govern itself, the process 
it must use to develop the Comprehensive Plan, and reporting 
requirements. The Council will develop standard contract terms for 
projects and programs awarded pursuant to the Comprehensive Plan, and 
may develop memoranda of understanding establishing integrated funding 
and implementation plans among Council members. The statutory scheme 
makes clear that the Council has a significant role in developing its 
own compliance procedures and in overseeing the funds provided for 
carrying out the Comprehensive Plan.
    When the Council designates a Gulf Coast State to carry out a 
project or program, a grant agreement will describe the work and rules 
applying to it. The Council will use interagency agreements to 
memorialize its arrangements with Federal agencies. The Council may 
also award grants to nongovernmental entities. These grant agreements 
will include standard administrative terms on such topics as 
recordkeeping, reporting, and auditing, as well as specific 
certifications and conditions described in Treasury's proposed 
regulations. The regulations supplement Federal law and policy that 
generally apply to Federal grants. The proposed regulations require the 
Council to establish and implement a program to monitor compliance with 
its grant agreements and any agreements executed with its Federal 
agency members.

Spill Impact Component

    The Act provides 30 percent of the penalties deposited into the 
Fund to the Gulf Coast States to carry out plans developed by the Gulf 
Coast States and approved by the Council. The Act specifies particular 
entities within the

[[Page 54803]]

States to prepare these plans. The Council will disburse funds based on 
a formula that the Council establishes by regulation, using criteria 
provided in the statute.
    Like the Direct Component discussed earlier, the Act places 
restrictions and conditions on the States' use of funds. The list of 
eligible activities is generally the same, but the States have less 
discretion under the Spill Impact Component about the activities to 
fund because such activities must take into consideration and be 
consistent with the Comprehensive Plan, and the amount of funds 
available for infrastructure projects is more limited. In addition, the 
State plans are subject to Council approval.
    The funds the Council disburses to the Gulf Coast States will be in 
the form of grants. As required by Federal law, the Council will 
prepare a grant agreement with the States and incorporate into the 
agreement standard administrative terms on such topics as 
recordkeeping, reporting, and auditing. Treasury's proposed regulations 
supplement this compliance framework with additional conditions and 
certifications. Going forward, the Council will need to establish and 
implement a compliance program to ensure that the grants it issues 
comply with the terms of the grant agreement.

NOAA RESTORE Act Science Program

    The Act allocates 2.5 percent of penalties deposited into the Trust 
Fund, plus one-quarter of all interest earned on investments, to the 
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). NOAA will 
establish a new program, called the NOAA RESTORE Act Science Program, 
in consultation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. NOAA's program 
will support, to the maximum extent practicable, the long-term 
sustainability of the Gulf Coast ecosystem, fish stocks, fish habitat, 
and the recreational, commercial, and charter fishing industry in the 
Gulf of Mexico.
    The Act contemplates that NOAA will use at least part of these 
funds for grants. The Act permits NOAA, in its discretion, to transfer 
funds to the Gulf States Marine Fisheries Commission, an organization 
of the five Gulf Coast States to whom NOAA currently provides grants. 
The statute leaves open the possibility of additional grants to other 
recipients. NOAA, as the program agency, will develop grant 
requirements for this new program that incorporate standard 
administrative requirements that apply to all Federal grants. 
Treasury's proposed regulations will supplement these requirements, as 
permitted by the Act.

Centers of Excellence Research Grants Program

    The Act sets aside 2.5 percent of penalties deposited into the 
Trust Fund, plus one-quarter of the interest earned on Trust Fund 
investments, for grants to establish Centers of Excellence that will 
focus on science, technology, and monitoring in a discipline listed in 
the statute. Each of the five Gulf Coast States receives an equal share 
of the funds available.
    Treasury will make funds available to the Gulf Coast States in the 
form of a grant, and the States will use these funds to issue their own 
grants. The Act allows the States to design their own grant application 
process, within certain boundaries. The Act specifies that States shall 
select centers of excellence through a competitive process, giving 
priority to nongovernmental entities and consortia that demonstrate the 
ability to establish the broadest cross-section of qualified 
participants. While the nongovernmental entities and consortia must be 
in the Gulf Coast region, the Act does not require that they be located 
in the Gulf Coast State issuing the grant. All grants will be subject 
to certifications and conditions in these regulations, as well as 
compliance and auditing requirements imposed by Federal grant law and 
policies.

Request for Public Comment

    Treasury requests public comment on all aspects of its proposed 
regulation. In addition to the topics discussed above, we would 
appreciate comments on the following questions:
     Are there additional procedures and auditing requirements 
that Treasury should require to assess whether the programs and 
activities funded with Trust Fund monies comply with the Act?
     Are there procedures Treasury could employ to identify and 
allocate funds available under other law to pay for administrative 
expenses attributable to Trust Fund management?

III. Regulatory Planning and Review (Executive Orders 12866 and 13563)

    This regulation is a significant regulatory action as defined in 
Executive Order 12866, as supplemented by Executive Order 13563. If 
adopted, this rule may have an annual effect on the economy of $100 
million or more. Accordingly, this proposed rule has been reviewed by 
the Office of Management and Budget. The Regulatory Impact Assessment 
prepared by Treasury for this regulation is provided below.
    This rule deals with the transfer of amounts in the Gulf Coast 
Ecosystem Trust Fund. On March 21, 2013, $323,392,877 was deposited 
into the Trust Fund and invested in Treasury securities. The amount in 
the Trust Fund is expected to increase due to investments and 
additional deposits of civil penalties from ongoing litigation.

Description of Need for the Regulatory Action

    The RESTORE Act requires Treasury to establish procedures necessary 
for the deposit into, and expenditure of amounts from, the Gulf Coast 
Ecosystem Trust Fund. This rulemaking implements those 
responsibilities. Included in this rulemaking are procedures for 
issuing grants to the Gulf Coast States, Florida counties, and 
Louisiana parishes, as well as reporting and auditing requirements. The 
procedures supplement responsibilities in other Federal laws and policy 
that apply to grants. Treasury is analyzing the proposed regulation in 
accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act, and will 
complete its analysis before finalizing the regulation.

Affected Population

    This rulemaking affects those entities in the five Gulf Coast 
States that are eligible to receive funding under the RESTORE Act. In 
general, funds will be made available to a State and local governments 
in the form of grants, and to Federal agencies through interagency 
agreements, for projects, programs, and activities they select within 
the broad parameters of the RESTORE Act. Funds are also available to 
NOAA for a science research program, and to the Gulf Coast Ecosystem 
Restoration Council, a body comprised of State and Federal entities, 
for projects and programs the Council identifies in its Comprehensive 
Plan.
    Under the Direct Component and Spill Impact Component, 65 percent 
of the Trust Fund is available to support projects, programs, and 
activities proposed by governmental entities in the five Gulf Coast 
States. The RESTORE Act lists a broad range of eligible activities, 
including the restoration and protection of natural resources, 
mitigation of damage to fish and wildlife, and workforce development 
and job creation. State entities may apply to the Treasury Department 
for grant funds under the Direct Component, and to the Gulf Coast 
Ecosystem Restoration Council for grant funds under the Spill Impact 
Component.

[[Page 54804]]

    The Comprehensive Plan Component makes 30 percent of the Trust 
Fund, plus a portion of accrued interest, available to the Gulf Coast 
Ecosystem Restoration Council for projects and programs, using best 
available science, that would restore and protect natural resources, 
ecosystems, fisheries, marine and wildlife habitats, beaches, coastal 
wetlands, and economy of the Gulf Coast. The Council will identify the 
projects and programs it wants to fund in its Comprehensive Plan, and 
assign primary responsibility for them to its members. The Council will 
provide funds to the States in the form of grants, and may permit its 
Federal and State members to issue grants to or contract with 
nongovernmental entities.
    The RESTORE Act also makes 2.5 percent of the Trust Fund, plus a 
portion of accrued interest, available to NOAA for the NOAA RESTORE Act 
Science Program. In this program, NOAA may use funds to carry out 
research, observation, and monitoring to support the long-term 
sustainability of the ecosystem, fish stocks, fish habitat, and the 
recreational, commercial, and charter fishing industry in the Gulf of 
Mexico. NOAA may carry out these functions directly, transfer funds to 
the Gulf States Marine Fisheries Commission, and issue grants.
    The fifth RESTORE Act component is the Centers of Excellence 
Research Grants Program. In this program, Treasury will issue grants to 
governmental entities in the five Gulf Coast States using 2.5 percent 
of the Trust Fund, plus a portion of accrued interest. The State 
entities will use the funds to issue their own competitive grants to 
establish centers of excellence. These centers will be nongovernmental 
entities and consortia in the Gulf Coast region, including public and 
private institutions of higher education. They will focus on science, 
technology, and monitoring in five disciplines described in the RESTORE 
Act.

Baseline

    The proposed regulation helps implement the RESTORE Act, which is 
generally focused on the environmental restoration and economic 
recovery of the Gulf Coast region. This region is an area in which the 
people, animals, minerals, land, and water are interconnected. The 
ecosystem and resources are vitally important to the United States 
economy, contributing about 30 percent of the nation's gross domestic 
product in 2009 (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, 
2010). The region provides more than 90 percent of the nation's 
offshore oil and natural gas production (U.S. Information Agency, 2010) 
and one-third of the nation's seafood (National Marine Fisheries 
Service, 2010). The region has 13 of the top 20 ports by tonnage and 
significant recreation and tourism.
    On April 20, 2010, the largest oil spill in United States history 
occurred, exacerbating the effects of previous natural disasters and 
years of environmental decline in the Gulf Coast region. The cause was 
an explosion of the Deepwater Horizon, an oil drilling rig in the Gulf 
of Mexico. Before the well was capped, millions of barrels of crude oil 
were released, closing tens of thousands of square miles of federal 
waters for fishing while contaminating hundreds of miles of shoreline, 
bayous, bays, and islands with oil and chemicals used during response 
activities. The released oil dispersed over Gulf waters, wildlife, and 
coasts, causing extensive damage to marine and wildlife habitats, 
fishing, and tourism.
    This proposed rule describes procedures concerning the expenditure 
of amounts from the Trust Fund, including compliance and auditing 
requirements. The amounts made available from the Trust Fund will 
continue efforts that provide for the long-term health of the 
ecosystems and economy of the Gulf Coast region. The Council, NOAA, and 
program grantees will determine how to advance these efforts using 
Trust Fund amounts.

IV. Regulatory Flexibility Act

    The Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 601 et seq.) generally 
requires agencies to prepare a regulatory flexibility analysis of any 
rule subject to notice and comment rulemaking requirements under the 
Administrative Procedure Act or any other statute, unless the agency 
certifies that the rule will not have a significant economic impact on 
a substantial number of small entities. It is hereby certified that 
this rule will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial 
number of small entities, and thus no initial regulatory flexibility 
analysis is required. While this rule describes procedures concerning 
the allocation and expenditure of amounts from the Trust Fund, most of 
these requirements come from the RESTORE Act itself or other Federal 
law. The RESTORE Act or the Gulf Coast Restoration Council determines 
the percentage of funds available to the Gulf Coast States, Florida 
counties, and Louisiana parishes, with one exception. In the Direct 
Component, the RESTORE Act did not specify a method for determining the 
percentage of funds available to each of the eight disproportionately 
affected counties in the State of Florida. The proposed rule provides 
that these counties will determine an allocation formula for themselves 
by agreement. Because the proposed rule affects the allocation amounts 
for only eight Florida counties, some of which are small entities, the 
rule will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial 
number of small entities. Notwithstanding this certification, Treasury 
invites comments on the rule's impact on small entities.

V. Paperwork Reduction Act

    The collections of information contained in this notice of proposed 
rulemaking have been submitted to the Office of Management and Budget 
(OMB) for review in accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 
(44 U.S.C. 3507(d)). Comments on the collections of information should 
be sent to the Office of Management and Budget, Attention: Desk Officer 
for the Department of the Treasury, Office of Information and 
Regulatory Affairs, Washington, DC 20503, or email to OIRA_submissions@omb.eop.gov, with copies to the Treasury Department at the 
email address previously specified. Comments on the information 
collection should be submitted not later than November 5, 2013. 
Comments are specifically requested concerning:
     Whether the proposed collection[s] of information is 
necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the Treasury 
Department, including whether the information will have practical 
utility;
     The accuracy of the estimated burden associated with the 
proposed collection[s] of information (see below);
     How to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the 
information to be collected;
     How to minimize the burden of complying with the proposed 
collections of information, including the application of automated 
collection techniques or other forms of information technology.
    The collections of information in this proposed regulation are in 
31 CFR Part 34. This information is required to support applications 
for grants under the RESTORE Act and monitor the use of RESTORE Act 
funds. The likely respondents are recipients of these funds, namely 
State and local governments, Federal agencies, and nongovernmental 
entities who apply for grants.

[[Page 54805]]



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                                                                                          Centers of  Excellence
                                                                    Direct component     Research Grants Program
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Application--number of respondents............................                       47                        5
Application--frequency of responses...........................                        2                        2
Application--burden hours per response........................                       10                       10
Application--total burden hours...............................                      940                      100
Reports--number of respondents................................                       47                        5
Reports--frequency of responses...............................                    (\1\)                    (\1\)
Reports--burden hours per response............................                        3                        3
Reports--total burden hours...................................                      564                       60
Recordkeeping.................................................                    4,700                      500
                                                               -------------------------------------------------
    1Total burden hours.......................................                    6,204                      660
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ Quarterly.

    Estimated total annual burden hours for applications, reporting and 
recordkeeping: 6,864 hours for the Direct Component and the Centers of 
Excellence Research Grants Program. The Federal entities who administer 
the Comprehensive Plan Component, Spill Impact Component, and the NOAA 
RESTORE Act Science Program will submit their estimates separately to 
OMB. The public will have the opportunity to comment at that time.
    An agency may not conduct or sponsor, and a person is not required 
to respond to, a collection of information unless it displays a valid 
control number assigned by OMB.

List of Subjects in 31 CFR Part 34

    Coastal zone, Centers of Excellence Research Grants Program, 
Fisheries, Grant programs, Grants administration, Gulf Coast Ecosystem 
Restoration Council, Gulf Coast Restoration Trust Fund, Gulf RESTORE 
Program, Intergovernmental relations, Marine resources, Natural 
resources, NOAA RESTORE Act Science Program, Oil pollution, Research, 
Science and technology, Trusts, Wildlife.

    For the reasons set forth in the preamble, the Department of the 
Treasury proposes to amend 31 CFR subtitle A to add new part 34 to read 
as follows:

PART 34--RESOURCES AND ECOSYSTEMS SUSTAINABILITY, TOURIST 
OPPORTUNITIES, AND REVIVED ECONOMIES OF THE GULF COAST STATES

Subpart A--General Provisions
Sec.
34.1 Purpose.
34.2 Definitions.
Subpart B--Trust Fund
34.100 The Trust Fund.
34.101 Investments.
34.102 Interest earned.
34.103 Allocation of funds.
34.104 Expenditures.
34.105 Waiver.
Subpart C--Eligible Activities for the Section 311(t) Gulf RESTORE 
Components
34.200 General.
34.201 Eligible activities for the Direct Component.
34.202 Eligible activities for the Comprehensive Plan Component.
34.203 Eligible activities for the Spill Impact Component.
34.204 Limitations on activities.
34.205 Limitations on administrative costs and administrative 
expenses.
34.206 Audited financial statements and audits.
Subpart D--Gulf RESTORE Program--Direct Component
34.300 General.
34.301 Responsibility for administration.
34.302 Allocation of funds.
34.303 Application procedure.
34.304 Grant award process.
34.305 Use of funds.
34.306 Reports.
34.307 Recordkeeping.
34.308 Audits.
Subpart E--Gulf RESTORE Program--Comprehensive Plan Component
34.400 General.
34.401 Responsibility for administration.
34.402 Application procedure and grant award process.
34.403 Use of funds.
34.404 Reports.
34.405 Recordkeeping.
34.406 Audits.
Subpart F--Gulf RESTORE Program--Spill Impact Component
34.500 General.
34.501 Responsibility for administration.
34.502 Allocation of funds.
34.503 State Expenditure Plans.
34.504 Grant administration.
34.505 Use of funds.
34.506 Reports.
34.507 Recordkeeping.
34.508 Audits.
Subpart G--NOAA RESTORE Act Science Program
34.600 General.
34.601 Responsibility for administration.
34.602 Activities for the NOAA RESTORE Act Science Program.
34.603 Limitations on activities.
34.604 Limitations on administrative expenses.
34.605 Records.
34.606 Recordkeeping.
34.607 Audits.
Subpart H--Centers of Excellence Research Grants Program
34.700 General.
34.701 Responsibility for administration.
34.702 Allocation of funds.
34.703 Application procedure.
34.704 Use of grant funds and eligible activities.
34.705 Ineligible activities.
34.706 Reports.
34.707 Recordkeeping.
34.708 Audits.
Subpart I--Agreements
34.800 General.
34.801 Grant agreements.
34.802 Certifications.
34.803 Conditions.
34.804 Records.
34.805 Noncompliance.

    Authority: 31 U.S.C. 301; 31 U.S.C. 321; 33 U.S.C. 1251 et seq.

Subpart A--General Provisions


Sec.  34.1  Purpose.

    This part describes policies and procedures applicable to the 
following programs authorized under the Resources and Ecosystems 
Sustainability, Tourist Opportunities, and Revived Economies of the 
Gulf Coast States Act of 2012 (RESTORE Act):
    (a) Gulf RESTORE Program:
    (1) Direct Component (subpart D)
    (2) Comprehensive Plan Component (subpart E)
    (3) Spill Impact Component (subpart F)
    (b) NOAA RESTORE Act Science Program (subpart G)
    (c) Centers of Excellence Research Grants Program (subpart H)


Sec.  34.2  Definitions.

    As used in this part:
    Act means the Resources and Ecosystems Sustainability, Tourist

[[Page 54806]]

Opportunities, and Revived Economies of the Gulf Coast States Act of 
2012.
    Administrative costs means those indirect costs incurred by the 
Gulf Coast States, coastal political subdivisions, and coastal zone 
parishes for general management functions, general ledger accounting, 
budgeting, human resource services, general procurement services, and 
general legal services that are allocable to activities authorized 
under the Act.
    Administrative expenses means the expenses incurred by the Council 
to administer the Comprehensive Plan Component, and NOAA to administer 
the NOAA RESTORE Act Science Program, that are for general management 
functions, general ledger accounting, budgeting, human resource 
services, general procurement services, and general legal services. 
Oversight and monitoring activities are classified as administrative 
when the activity overseen or monitored is administrative rather than 
programmatic in nature.
    Alabama Gulf Coast Recovery Council means the entity identified in 
section 311(t)(1)(F)(i) of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act, as 
amended by the RESTORE Act.
    Best available science means science that maximizes the quality, 
objectivity, and integrity of information, including statistical 
information; uses peer-reviewed and publicly available data; and 
clearly documents and communicates risks and uncertainties in the 
scientific basis for such projects.
    Centers of Excellence Research Grants Program means the program 
authorized by section 1605 of the Act.
    Coastal political subdivision means any local political 
jurisdiction that is immediately below the State level of government, 
including a county, parish, or borough, with a coastline that is 
contiguous with any portion of the United States Gulf of Mexico. The 
term includes any of the disproportionately affected counties and 
nondisproportionately impacted counties in Florida, as defined below.
    Coastal zone parishes means the parishes of Ascension, Assumption, 
Calcasieu, Cameron, Iberia, Jefferson, Lafourche, Livingston, Orleans, 
Plaquemines, St. Bernard, St. Charles, St. James, St. John the Baptist, 
St. Martin, St. Mary, St. Tammany, Terrebonne, Tangipahoa, and 
Vermilion in the State of Louisiana.
    Comprehensive Plan Component means the component of the Gulf 
RESTORE Program authorized by section 311(t)(2) of the Federal Water 
Pollution Control Act, as added by section 1603 of the Act, in which 
funds are provided through the Council, in accordance with a plan 
developed by the Council, to entities to carry out the purposes of the 
Act.
    Council means the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council, an 
independent entity in the Federal Government whose members are the 
Governors of the Gulf Coast States; the Secretaries of Agriculture, the 
Army, Commerce, and the Interior; the head of the department in which 
the Coast Guard is operating, and the Administrator of the 
Environmental Protection Agency (or their designees at the level of 
Assistant Secretary or the equivalent).
    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.
    Direct Component means the component of the Gulf RESTORE Program 
authorized by section 311(t)(1) of the Federal Water Pollution Control 
Act, as added by section 1603 of the Act, in which Gulf Coast States, 
coastal zone parishes, disproportionately affected counties, and 
nondisproportionately impacted counties are provided funds directly by 
Treasury to carry out the purposes of the Act.
    Disproportionately affected counties means the counties of Bay, 
Escambia, Franklin, Gulf, Okaloosa, Santa Rosa, Wakulla, and Walton in 
the State of Florida.
    Environmental review and compliance procedures means the procedures 
under applicable Federal and state environmental laws.
    Federal Water Pollution Control Act means 33 U.S.C. 1251 et seq.
    Gulf Coast Region means:
    (1) In the Gulf Coast States, the coastal zones defined under 
section 304 of the Coastal Zone Management Act of 1972 that border the 
Gulf of Mexico;
    (2) Land within the coastal zones described in paragraph (1) of 
this definition that is held in trust by, or the use of which is by law 
subject solely to the discretion of, the Federal Government or officers 
or agents of the Federal Government;
    (3) Any adjacent land, water, and watersheds, that are within 25 
miles of the coastal zone described in paragraphs (1) and (2) of this 
definition; and
    (4) All Federal waters in the Gulf of Mexico.
    Gulf Coast State means any of the States of Alabama, Florida, 
Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas.
    Gulf Coast State entities means the parties delineated in Sec.  
34.702 as being eligible to administer the Centers of Excellence 
research grants in their respective states.
    NOAA means the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
    NOAA RESTORE Act Science Program means the program authorized by 
section 1604 of the Act.
    Nondisproportionately impacted counties means the counties of 
Charlotte, Citrus, Collier, Dixie, Hernando, Hillsborough, Jefferson, 
Lee, Levy, Manatee, Monroe, Pasco, Pinellas, Sarasota, and Taylor in 
the State of Florida.
    Spill Impact Component means the component of the Gulf RESTORE 
Program authorized by section 311(t)(3) of the Federal Water Pollution 
Control Act, as added by section 1603 of the Act, in which Gulf Coast 
States are provided funds by the Council according to a formula that 
the Council establishes by regulation, using criteria listed in the 
Act.
    State Expenditure Plan means the plan that each Gulf Coast State 
must submit to the Council for the expenditure of amounts disbursed 
under the Spill Impact Component.
    Treasury means the U.S. Department of the Treasury, the Secretary 
of the Treasury, or his/her designee.
    Trust Fund means the Gulf Coast Restoration Trust Fund.

Subpart B--Trust Fund


Sec.  34.100  The Trust Fund.

    Treasury will deposit into the Trust Fund an amount equal to 80 
percent of all administrative and civil penalties paid after July 6, 
2012 by responsible parties 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 
under section 311 of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act. The 
authority for the Trust Fund will terminate on the date all funds owed 
to the Trust Fund have been returned, and all funds have been expended.


Sec.  34.101  Investments.

    The Secretary of the Treasury will invest such amounts in the Trust 
Fund that are not, in the judgment of the Secretary, required to meet 
needs for current withdrawals. The Secretary may invest in interest-
bearing obligations of the United States, having maturities suitable to 
the needs of the Trust Fund as determined by the Secretary. These 
obligations will bear interest at rates described in 31 U.S.C. 9702, 
unless the Secretary determines that such rates are unavailable for 
obligations with suitable maturities. In that event, the Secretary

[[Page 54807]]

will select obligations of the United States bearing interest at rates 
determined by the Secretary, taking into consideration current market 
yields on outstanding marketable obligations of the United States of 
comparable maturities.


Sec.  34.102  Interest earned.

    Interest earned on Trust Fund investments will be available as 
described in Sec.  34.103(b).


Sec.  34.103  Allocation of funds.

    The amounts in the Trust Fund are allocated among the programs in 
Sec.  34.1.
    (a) Available funds in the Trust Fund, other than interest, are 
allocated as follows:
    (1) Thirty-five percent in equal shares for the Gulf Coast States 
to be used for the Direct Component of the Gulf RESTORE Program.
    (2) Thirty percent for the Council to be used for the Comprehensive 
Plan Component of the Gulf RESTORE Program.
    (3) Thirty percent for formula distribution to Gulf Coast States to 
be used for the Spill Impact Component of the Gulf RESTORE Program.
    (4) Two and one-half percent to be used for the NOAA RESTORE Act 
Science Program.
    (5) Two and one-half percent in equal shares for the Gulf Coast 
States to be used for the Centers of Excellence Research Grants 
Program.
    (b) Within ten days of the close of a Federal fiscal year, 
available funds equal to the interest earned on the Trust Fund 
investments will be allocated, as follows:
    (1) Twenty-five percent to be used for the NOAA RESTORE Act Science 
program.
    (2) Twenty-five percent for the Centers of Excellence Research 
Grants program.
    (3) Fifty percent for the Comprehensive Plan Component.


Sec.  34.104  Expenditures.

    Amounts in the Trust Fund will be available for expenditure solely 
for eligible activities, administrative costs, and administrative 
expenses without fiscal year limitation. Grantees must minimize the 
time between the receipt of funds and the disbursement of those funds.


Sec.  34.105  Waiver.

    To the extent not inconsistent with applicable law, Treasury may 
waive or modify a requirement in thes regulations in this part in a 
single case or class of cases if the Secretary determines, in his or 
her sole discretion, that the requirement is not necessary for the 
deposit of amounts into, or the expenditure of amounts from, the Trust 
Fund. Treasury will provide public notice of any waivers or 
modifications granted.

Subpart C--Eligible Activities for the Section 311(t) Gulf RESTORE 
Components


Sec.  34.200  General.

    This subpart describes policies and procedures regarding eligible 
activities applicable to the Direct Component, Comprehensive Plan 
Component, and Spill Impact Component. Subparts D, E, F, and I of this 
part describe additional requirements that must be met before an 
activity can receive funding.
    (a) Trust Fund money may be used to carry out an activity in whole 
or in part only if the following requirements are met:
    (1) Costs incurred, whether charged on a direct or indirect basis, 
must conform with the applicable OMB circulars and guidance.
    (2) The activity must meet the eligibility requirements of the Gulf 
RESTORE Program as defined in Sec. Sec.  34.201, 34.202, or 34.203, 
according to component.
    (3) Environmental review and compliance procedures must be complied 
with for each program, project, or activity, as applicable. Grant 
agreements may provide for pre-award costs of environmental review and 
compliance in the manner prescribed by applicable OMB circulars and 
guidance.
    (4) Activities funded through the Direct Component, Comprehensive 
Plan Component, and Spill Impact Component may not be included in any 
claim for compensation presented to the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund 
after July 6, 2012.
    (b) A Gulf Coast State, coastal political subdivision, and coastal 
zone parish may use funds available under the Direct Component or Spill 
Impact Component to satisfy the non-Federal cost-share of a project or 
program that is an eligible activity and authorized by Federal law.


Sec.  34.201  Eligible activities for the Direct Component.

    The following activities are eligible for funding under the Direct 
Component. Activities in paragraphs (a) through (g) of this section are 
eligible for funding to the extent they are carried out in the Gulf 
Coast Region. Programs, projects, and activities designed to protect or 
restore natural resources must be based on the best available science.
    (a) Restoration and protection of the natural resources, 
ecosystems, fisheries, marine and wildlife habitats, beaches, and 
coastal wetlands of the Gulf Coast Region.
    (b) Mitigation of damage to fish, wildlife, and natural resources.
    (c) Implementation of a Federally-approved marine, coastal, or 
comprehensive conservation management plan, including fisheries 
monitoring.
    (d) Workforce development and job creation.
    (e) Improvements to or on State parks located in coastal areas 
affected by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.
    (f) Infrastructure projects benefitting the economy or ecological 
resources, including port infrastructure.
    (g) Coastal flood protection and related infrastructure.
    (h) Promotion of tourism in the Gulf Coast Region, including 
promotion of recreational fishing.
    (i) Promotion of the consumption of seafood harvested from the Gulf 
Coast Region.
    (j) Planning limited to the costs of data gathering, studies, 
analysis, and preparation of plans and actions for eligible activities 
under Sec.  34.201(a) through (i), including the costs of environmental 
review and compliance.
    (k) Administrative costs.


Sec.  34.202  Eligible activities for the Comprehensive Plan Component.

    The Council's activities under section 311(t)(2) and (3) of the 
Federal Water Pollution Control Act are eligible for funding from the 
Comprehensive Plan Component, including the following:
    (a) The Council may expend funds for projects and programs, using 
the best available science, that would restore and protect the natural 
resources, ecosystems, fisheries, marine and wildlife habitats, 
beaches, coastal wetlands, and economy of the Gulf Coast Region. All 
Council projects and programs must be carried out in the Gulf Coast 
Region and be adopted in the Comprehensive Plan.
    (b) The Council may expend funds to develop and publish the 
proposed and initial Comprehensive Plans, and to carry out, amend, and 
update the Comprehensive Plan as required by the Act or as necessary.
    (c) The Council may expend funds to prepare annual reports to 
Congress, and other reports and audits required by the Act, these 
regulations, and other Federal law.
    (d) The Council may expend funds to establish and operate one or 
more advisory committees as may be necessary to assist the Council.
    (e) The Council may expend funds to collect and consider scientific 
and other

[[Page 54808]]

research associated with restoration of the Gulf Coast ecosystem, 
including research, observation, and monitoring.
    (f) Administrative expenses.


Sec.  34.203  Eligible activities for the Spill Impact Component.

    Programs, projects, and activities eligible for funding under the 
Spill Impact Component must meet the eligibility criteria set forth in 
Sec.  34.201, as well as the following:
    (a) The projects, programs, and activities must be included in a 
State Expenditure Plan approved by the Council.
    (b) The projects, programs, and activities included in the State 
Expenditure Plan must contribute to the overall economic and ecological 
recovery of the Gulf Coast.


Sec.  34.204  Limitations on activities.

    The following limitations apply to the activities of Sec. Sec.  
34.201, 34.202, and 34.203.
    (a) Acquisition of land or interests in land by purchase, exchange, 
or donation must be from a willing seller.
    (b) None of the Trust Fund amounts may be used to acquire land in 
fee title by the Federal Government unless the land is acquired by 
exchange or donation or the acquisition is necessary for the 
restoration and protection of the natural resources, ecosystems, 
fisheries, marine and wildlife habitats, beaches, and coastal wetlands 
of the Gulf Coast Region and has the concurrence of the Governor of the 
State in which the acquisition will take place.


Sec.  34.205  Limitations on administrative costs and administrative 
expenses.

    (a) Of the amounts received by a Gulf Coast State, coastal 
political subdivision, or coastal zone parish under the Direct 
Component, Comprehensive Plan Component, and Spill Impact Component, 
not more than three percent may be used for administrative costs, 
including staff. The three percent limit is applied to the total amount 
of funds received under each grant, beginning with the first fiscal 
year it receives funds through the end of the most recent fiscal year.
    (b) Of the amounts received by the Council under the Comprehensive 
Plan Component, not more than three percent may be used for 
administrative expenses, including staff. The three percent limit is 
applied to the total amount of funds received by the Council, beginning 
with the first fiscal year it receives funds through the end of the 
fourth, or most recent fiscal year, whichever is later.
    (c) With respect to the Alabama Gulf Coast Recovery Council, 
administrative duties may only be performed by public officials and 
employees that are subject to the ethics laws of the State of Alabama. 
Trust Fund amounts may not be used for the administrative costs of 
other personnel.


Sec.  34.206  Audited financial statements and audits.

    Not later than December 1, 2014 and each year thereafter, the 
Council must prepare and submit to the Secretary of the Treasury an 
audited financial statement for the preceding Federal fiscal year, 
covering all accounts and associated activities of the Council.
    (a) Each audited financial statement under this section must 
reflect:
    (1) The overall financial position of the accounts and activities 
covered by the statement, including assets and liabilities thereof.
    (2) Results of operations of the Council.
    (b) The financial statements must be prepared in accordance with 
the form and content of the financial statements prescribed by the 
Director of the Office of Management and Budget for executive agencies 
pursuant to 31 U.S.C. 3515, consistent with applicable accounting and 
financial reporting principles, standards, and requirements.
    (c) The Treasury Inspector General may conduct performance audits 
and reviews of the Council's accounts and activities as the Inspector 
General deems appropriate.

Subpart D--Gulf RESTORE Program--Direct Component


Sec.  34.300  General.

    This subpart describes the policies and procedures applicable to 
the Direct Component of the Gulf RESTORE Program. The funds made 
available under this subpart will be in the form of a grant.


Sec.  34.301  Responsibility for administration.

    Treasury is responsible for awarding grants and administering 
grants and grant agreements under this subpart. Treasury may develop 
and apply policies and procedures consistent with this subpart, 
applicable Federal policies, and the Act. Treasury will establish and 
implement a program to monitor compliance with its grant agreements.


Sec.  34.302  Allocation of funds.

    The amounts made available in any fiscal year from the Trust Fund 
and allocated to this component will be available in equal shares for 
the Gulf Coast States for expenditure on eligible activities. The 
following entities are eligible to receive Direct Component grants.
    (a) The amounts available to Alabama will be provided directly to 
the Alabama Gulf Coast Recovery Council, or such administrative agent 
as it may designate.
    (b) Of the amounts available to Florida, 75 percent of funding will 
be provided directly to the eight disproportionately affected counties. 
Treasury will divide the funds among these counties according to the 
formula mutually-agreed upon by the counties and included in the 
multiyear implementation plan submitted by each disproportionately 
affected county.
    (c) Of the amounts available to Florida, 25 percent of funding will 
be provided to the nondisproportionately impacted counties. Treasury 
will divide the funds among these counties according to the formula in 
section 311(t)(1)(C)(ii) of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act.
    (d) Of the amounts available to Louisiana, 70 percent will be 
provided directly to the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority 
Board of Louisiana.
    (e) Of the amounts available to Louisiana, 30 percent will be 
provided directly to the coastal zone parishes based on the formula in 
section 311(t)(1)(D)(i) of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act. No 
parish will receive funds until its chief executive has certified to 
the Governor of Louisiana, in a form satisfactory to the Governor or 
the Governor's designee, that the parish has completed a comprehensive 
land use plan that is consistent with, or complementary to, the most 
recent version of the State's Coastal Master Plan approved by the 
Louisiana legislature.
    (f) The amounts available to Mississippi will be provided directly 
to the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality.
    (g) The amounts available to Texas will be provided directly to the 
Office of the Governor or to an appointee of the Governor.


Sec.  34.303  Application procedure.

    The entities identified in Sec.  34.302 are eligible to apply for 
their allocation as a grant. Treasury will develop an application 
process for grants available under this subpart that is consistent with 
the Act and Federal policies on grants. At a minimum, the procedure 
will include the following:
    (a) The applicant must submit a multiyear implementation plan 
describing each program, project, and activity for which it seeks 
funding. For each, the plan must include a narrative description 
showing need, purpose, and objectives; identification of the eligible 
activity under which it qualifies;

[[Page 54809]]

location; budget; milestones; projected completion dates; and criteria 
the applicant will use to evaluate the success of each activity in 
helping to restore and protect the Gulf Coast region impacted by the 
Deepwater Horizon oil spill. The applicant must also state whether it 
has applied for a grant to fund the program, project, or activity under 
any other part of the Act. For the State of Louisiana parishes, the 
applicant must submit information demonstrating compliance with Sec.  
34.302(e). Treasury may require a standard format for the plans and 
additional information.
    (b) An applicant may satisfy some or all of the requirements in 
Sec. Sec.  34.303(a) and 34.802(a) through (e) if it can demonstrate in 
its application to Treasury that before July 6, 2012:
    (1) The applicant established conditions to carry out projects, 
programs, and activities that are substantively the same as the 
conditions required in Sec.  34.303(a).
    (2) The applicable program, project, or activity qualified as one 
or more of the eligible activities in Sec.  34.201.
    (c) The applicant must include supporting information that proposed 
activities meet the statutory requirements for eligibility, that its 
implementation plan was made available for public review and comment 
for a minimum of 30 days, and that each program, project, and activity 
is adopted after consideration of all meaningful input from the public, 
including broad-based participation from individuals, businesses, 
Tribal nations, and non-profit organizations.
    (d) The applicant must include supporting information that each 
program, project, and activity that is designed to protect or restore 
natural resources is based on the best available science.


Sec.  34.304  Grant award process.

    Upon determining that an application meets the requirements of 
these regulations and the Act, Treasury will offer the applicant a 
grant agreement that complies with subpart I and Federal policies 
applicable to grants.


Sec.  34.305  Use of funds.

    (a) An activity may be funded in whole or in part if the applicable 
requirements of subparts C and D of this part are met. Unexpended funds 
at the end of the grant period or conclusion of the project, program, 
or activity, whichever is later, must be returned to the Trust Fund.
    (b) When awarding contracts to carry out a project or program under 
the Direct Component, a Gulf Coast State, coastal political 
subdivision, or coastal zone parish may give preference to individuals 
and companies that reside in, are headquartered in, or are principally 
engaged in business in the State of project execution.


Sec.  34.306  Reports.

    Grantees must submit timely reports as prescribed by Treasury.


Sec.  34.307  Recordkeeping.

    Grantees must maintain records as prescribed by Treasury and make 
the records available to Treasury, including the Treasury Inspector 
General.


Sec.  34.308  Audits.

    Treasury, including the Treasury Inspector General, may conduct 
audits and reviews of grantee's accounts and activities as deemed 
appropriate by Treasury.

Subpart E--Gulf RESTORE Program--Comprehensive Plan Component


Sec.  34.400  General.

    This subpart describes the policies and procedures applicable to 
the Comprehensive Plan Component. The Comprehensive Plan is developed 
by the Council in accordance with section 311(t)(2) of the Federal 
Water Pollution Control Act. This Component provides for implementing 
the projects and programs listed in the Comprehensive Plan.


Sec.  34.401  Responsibility for administration.

    After selecting Comprehensive Plan projects and programs to be 
funded, the Council must assign primary authority and responsibility 
for overseeing and implementing projects and programs to a Gulf Coast 
State or Federal agency represented on the Council.
    (a) In assigning responsibility, the Council must enter into a 
grant agreement with the Gulf Coast State or an interagency agreement 
with the Federal agency. The Council must specify whether any part of 
this responsibility may be further assigned to another entity and under 
what terms.
    (b) When a grant to a nongovernmental entity would equal or exceed 
ten percent of the total amount provided to the assignee for that 
particular project or program, the Council must publish in the Federal 
Register and deliver to these Congressional Committees at least 30 days 
prior to the assignee entering into an agreement the name of the 
grantee, the project's or program's purpose, and the amount of the 
award.
    (1) House of Representative committees: Committee on Science, 
Space, and Technology; Committee on Natural Resources; Committee on 
Transportation and Infrastructure; Committee on Appropriations.
    (2) Senate committees: Committee on Environment and Public Works; 
Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation; Committee on Energy 
and Natural Resources; Committee on Appropriations.
    (c) The Council must establish and implement a program to monitor 
compliance with its grant agreements and interagency agreements.


Sec.  34.402  Application procedure and grant award process.

    The Council may establish a selection process for assignees to use 
for awarding grants, cooperative agreements, or contracts to other 
entities. If the Council does not establish an application and 
selection process, assignees must use a selection process of their 
choosing that is fair, open, and meets the requirements of Federal laws 
and, for State and local governments that are awarding, the applicable 
State and local laws.


Sec.  34.403  Use of funds.

    An activity may be funded in whole or in part if the applicable 
requirements of subparts C and E of this part are met.


Sec.  34.404  Reports.

    Assignees/grantees must submit reports as prescribed by the Council 
or Treasury.


Sec.  34.405  Recordkeeping.

    Grantees must maintain records as prescribed by the Council and 
Treasury, and make the records available to the Council and Treasury, 
including the Treasury Inspector General.


Sec.  34.406  Audits.

    The Council and Treasury, including the Treasury Inspector General, 
may conduct audits and reviews of grantee's accounts and activities as 
any of them deems appropriate.

Subpart F--Gulf RESTORE Program--Spill Impact Component


Sec.  34.500  General.

    This subpart describes the policies and procedures applicable to 
the Spill Impact Component of the Gulf RESTORE Program. The funds made 
available under this subpart must be in the form of grants.


Sec.  34.501  Responsibility for administration.

    The Council is responsible for awarding and administering grants 
under this subpart. The Council must establish and implement a program 
to monitor compliance with its grant agreements.

[[Page 54810]]

Sec.  34.502  Allocation of funds.

    The Council will allocate amounts to the Gulf Coast States based on 
a formula in the Act and a regulation that the Council promulgates. The 
Council will make allocated funds available through grants for 
programs, projects, and activities described in a State expenditure 
plan approved by the Council.


Sec.  34.503  State Expenditure Plans.

    Each Gulf Coast State, through its Governor or the Governor's 
designee, must submit a State Expenditure Plan to the Council for its 
approval that describes each program, project, and activity for which 
the State seeks funding. The Council must develop requirements for 
these plans that include the following:
    (a) The State Expenditure Plan must be developed by:
    (1) In Alabama, the Alabama Gulf Coast Recovery Council.
    (2) In Florida, a consortium of local political subdivisions that 
includes, at a minimum, one representative of each county affected by 
the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.
    (3) In Louisiana, the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority 
of Louisiana, as approved by the Board.
    (4) In Mississippi, the Office of the Governor or an appointee of 
the Office of the Governor.
    (5) In Texas, the Office of the Governor or an appointee of the 
Office of the Governor.
    (b) The State Expenditure Plan must take into consideration the 
Comprehensive Plan and be consistent with the goals and objectives of 
the Comprehensive Plan.
    (c) For each program, project, and activity, the State Expenditure 
Plan must include narrative description showing purpose and objectives, 
estimated expenditures, major milestones, estimated duration, and 
criteria the State will use to evaluate success. The applicant must 
also state whether it has applied for a grant to fund the program, 
project, or activity under any other part of the Act.
    (d) The State Expenditure Plan must demonstrate that each program, 
project, and activity is an eligible activity and that the plan will 
contribute to the overall economic and ecological recovery of the Gulf 
Coast.
    (e) The State Expenditure Plan must demonstrate that each project, 
program, and activity that would restore and protect natural resources, 
ecosystems, fisheries, marine and wildlife habitats, beaches, coastal 
wetlands or the economy of the Gulf Coast is based on the best 
available science.
    (f) The State Expenditure Plan may not propose to use more than 25 
percent of the funding made available for infrastructure projects, 
unless the plan certifies that:
    (1) The ecosystem restoration needs in the State will be addressed 
by the projects in the proposed plan; and
    (2) Additional investment in infrastructure is required to mitigate 
the impacts of the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill to the ecosystem or 
economy.
    (g) If the Council disapproves a State Expenditure Plan, the 
Council must notify the impacted State in writing and consult with the 
State to address any identified deficiencies with the plan. If the 
Council fails to approve or take action within 60 days after the date 
on which the Council receives the plan, the State may obtain expedited 
judicial review within 90 days in a United States district court 
located in the State seeking the review.


Sec.  34.504  Grant administration.

    If the Council approves a State Expenditure Plan, the State may 
apply for a grant to carry out specific projects, programs, and 
activities in the plan. The Council must establish and publish 
procedures for grants available under this subpart that are consistent 
with Federal laws, regulations, and policies on grants. At a minimum, 
the State's application must demonstrate all the elements required for 
a State Expenditure Plan to the satisfaction of the Federal grant 
administrator before a grant may be approved.


Sec.  34.505  Use of funds.

    An activity may be funded in whole or in part if the applicable 
requirements of subparts C and F of this part are met.


Sec.  34.506  Reports.

    Grantees must submit reports as prescribed by the Council or 
Treasury.


Sec.  34.507  Recordkeeping.

    Grantees must maintain records as prescribed by the grant 
administering agency and make the records available to the grant 
administering agency, and Treasury, including the Treasury Inspector 
General.


Sec.  34.508  Audits.

    The Council and Treasury, including the Treasury Inspector General, 
may conduct audits and reviews of grantee's accounts and activities as 
any of them deem appropriate.

Subpart G--NOAA RESTORE Act Science Program


Sec.  34.600  General.

    This subpart describes policies and procedures applicable to the 
NOAA RESTORE Act Science program. The program's purpose is to carry out 
research, observation, and monitoring to support, to the maximum extent 
practicable, the long-term sustainability of the ecosystem, fish 
stocks, fish habitat, and the recreational, commercial, and charter 
fishing industries in the Gulf of Mexico.


Sec.  34.601  Responsibility for administration.

    NOAA is responsible for establishing and administering this 
program, in consultation with the United States Fish and Wildlife 
Service. NOAA must develop, publish, and apply policies and procedures 
for the NOAA RESTORE Act Science program consistent with the Act, this 
subpart and Federal grant laws, regulations, and policies. NOAA must 
implement a program to monitor compliance with its grant agreements and 
interagency agreements funded through the Trust Fund. NOAA and the 
United States Fish and Wildlife Service will consult with the Regional 
Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council and the Gulf States Marine 
Fisheries Commission in carrying out the program.


Sec.  34.602  Activities for the NOAA RESTORE Act Science Program.

    Amounts made available to NOAA may be expended to carry out a 
program comprised of the following activities with respect to the Gulf 
of Mexico:
    (a) Marine and estuarine research.
    (b) Marine and estuarine ecosystem monitoring and ocean 
observation.
    (c) Data collection and stock assessments.
    (d) Pilot programs for fishery independent data and reduction of 
exploitation of spawning aggregations.
    (e) Cooperative research.
    (f) Coordination of science and technology programs, in accordance 
with section 1604(f) of the Act, including setting priorities and 
engaging stakeholders. NOAA may also expend amounts made available from 
the Trust Fund for administrative expenses connected with the program. 
All funds must be expended in compliance with the Act, these 
regulations, and other applicable law.


Sec.  34.603  Limitations on activities.

    None of the Trust Fund amounts may be used for the following 
activities:
    (a) For any existing or planned research led by NOAA, unless agreed 
to in writing by the grant recipient.

[[Page 54811]]

    (b) To implement existing regulations or initiate new regulations 
promulgated or proposed by NOAA.
    (c) To develop or approve a new limited access privilege program 
(as that term is used in section 303A of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery 
Conservation and Management Act [16 U.S.C. 1853(a)]) for any fishery 
under the jurisdiction of the South Atlantic, Mid-Atlantic, New 
England, or Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Councils.


Sec.  34.604  Limitations on administrative expenses.

    (a) Of the amounts received by NOAA under the NOAA RESTORE Act 
Science Program, not more than three percent may be used for 
administrative expenses, including staff.
    (b) The three percent limit is based on funds that the NOAA RESTORE 
Act Science Program receives in its fiscal year, and unused amounts may 
be carried forward into subsequent years. The three percent limit is 
applied to the total amount of funds received by NOAA, beginning with 
the first fiscal year it receives funds through the end of the fourth, 
or most recent fiscal year, whichever is later.
    (c) NOAA may seek reimbursement of administrative expenses incurred 
after the first deposit into the Trust Fund, to the extent permitted by 
Federal law. Administrative expenses incurred prior to the first 
deposit into the Trust Fund are not reimbursable.


Sec.  34.605  Reports.

    NOAA must submit reports as prescribed by Treasury.


Sec.  34.606  Recordkeeping.

    Grantees must maintain records as prescribed by NOAA and make the 
records available to NOAA.


Sec.  34.607  Audits.

    The Treasury Inspector General may conduct audits and reviews of 
grantee's accounts and activities as it deems appropriate.

Subpart H--Centers of Excellence Research Grants Program


Sec.  34.700  General.

    This subpart describes the policies and procedures applicable to 
the Centers of Excellence Research Grants program. The program's 
purpose is to establish centers to conduct research only on the Gulf 
Coast Region. The funds made available to the Gulf Coast States under 
this subpart will be in the form of a grant.


Sec.  34.701  Responsibility for administration.

    Treasury is responsible for awarding grants to the Gulf Coast 
States, who will use the amounts made available to award grants to 
nongovernmental entities and consortia in the Gulf Coast Region for the 
establishment of Centers of Excellence. Treasury may develop and apply 
policies and procedures consistent with this subpart, Federal grant 
administration requirements, and the Act. Each Gulf Coast State entity 
issuing a grant must establish and implement a program to monitor 
compliance with its grant agreements.


Sec.  34.702  Allocation of funds.

    Each Gulf Coast State will be entitled to an equal share to carry 
out eligible activities. The duties of a Gulf Coast State will be 
carried out by the following entities:
    (a) In Alabama, the Alabama Gulf Coast Recovery Council.
    (b) In Florida, a consortium of public and private research 
institutions within the State which will include the Florida Department 
of Environmental Protection and the Florida Fish and Wildlife 
Conservation Commission.
    (c) In Louisiana, the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority 
of Louisiana.
    (d) In Mississippi, the Mississippi Department of Environmental 
Quality.
    (e) In Texas, the Office of the Governor or an appointee of the 
Office of the Governor.


Sec.  34.703  Application procedure.

    Treasury will develop an application process for grants available 
to the Gulf Coast States under this subpart that is consistent with 
Federal law, regulations, and policies on grants. At a minimum, the 
process will include the following:
    (a) Each Gulf Coast State must describe the rules and policies the 
State will apply to the Centers of Excellence grant(s), including the 
competitive process that the State will use to select a Center of 
Excellence. The process must allow nongovernmental entities and 
consortia in the Gulf Coast Region, including public and private 
institutions of higher learning, to compete. The process must give 
priority to entities and consortia that demonstrate the ability to 
organize the broadest cross-section of participants in the grant with 
interest and expertise in the discipline(s) on which the proposal is 
focused. The process must also guard against conflicts of interest. 
Centers of Excellence do not need to be located in the Gulf Coast State 
issuing the grant.
    (b) Each Gulf Coast State must demonstrate that its rules and 
policies for Centers of Excellence grants, including the competitive 
selection process, were published and available for public review and 
comment for a minimum of 30 days, and that they were adopted after 
consideration of all meaningful input from the public, including broad-
based participation from individuals, businesses, and non-profit 
organizations. This requirement does not apply to State statutes and 
regulations.
    (c) Each application must state the amount of funding requested and 
the purposes for which the funds will be used.


Sec.  34.704  Use of grant funds and eligible activities.

    (a) A Gulf Coast State receiving funds under this subpart must 
establish a grant program that complies with the Act, these 
regulations, and other Federal laws, regulations, and policies applying 
to grants.
    (b) Gulf Coast States may use funds available under this subpart to 
award competitive grants for the establishment of Centers of Excellence 
that focus on science, technology, and monitoring in at least one of 
the following disciplines:
    (1) Coastal and deltaic sustainability, restoration, and 
protection, including solutions and technology that allow citizens to 
live in a safe and sustainable manner in a coastal delta in the Gulf 
Coast region.
    (2) Coastal fisheries and wildlife ecosystem research and 
monitoring in the Gulf Coast Region.
    (3) Offshore energy development, including research and technology 
to improve the sustainable and safe development of energy resources in 
the Gulf of Mexico.
    (4) Sustainable and resilient growth and economic and commercial 
development in the Gulf Coast Region.
    (5) Comprehensive observation, monitoring, and mapping of the Gulf 
of Mexico.


Sec.  34.705  Ineligible activities.

    Any activity that is not authorized under the provisions of Sec.  
34.704 is ineligible for funding under this subpart.


Sec.  34.706  Reports.

    Each Gulf Coast State entity must submit the following reports:
    (a) An annual report to the Council in a form set by the Council 
that includes information on recipients, grant amounts, disciplines 
addressed, and any other information required by the Council. When the 
grant recipient is a consortium, the annual report must also identify 
the consortium members. This information will be included in the 
Council's annual report to Congress.
    (b) Other reports required by Treasury.

[[Page 54812]]

Sec.  34.707  Recordkeeping.

    Grantees must maintain records as prescribed by Treasury and make 
the records available to Treasury, including the Treasury Inspector 
General.


Sec.  34.708  Audits.

    Treasury, including the Treasury Inspector General, may conduct 
audits and reviews of each grantee's accounts and activities as deemed 
appropriate by Treasury.

Subpart I--Agreements


Sec.  34.800  General.

    This subpart describes procedures applicable to grant agreements 
used by Treasury, the Council (including Federal agencies carrying out 
responsibilities for the Council), NOAA, Gulf Coast States, coastal 
political subdivision, and coastal zone parishes in making awards under 
subparts D, E, F, G, and H of this part.


Sec.  34.801  Grant agreements.

    The grant agreements used must conform to all applicable Federal 
laws, regulations, and policies for grants, including audit 
requirements.


Sec.  34.802  Certifications.

    At a minimum, grant agreements for the Direct Component, 
Comprehensive Plan Component, and Spill Impact Component must contain 
the following certifications. The certification must be signed by an 
authorized senior official of the organization or entity receiving 
grant funds with oversight for the administration and use of the funds 
in question.
    (a) I certify that each project, program, and activity funded under 
this Agreement has been designed to restore and protect [select all 
that are appropriate: The natural resources, ecosystems, fisheries, 
marine and wildlife habitats, beaches, coastal wetlands, economy] of 
the Gulf Coast.
    (b) I certify that each project, program, and activity funded under 
this Agreement is designed to carry out one or more of the eligible 
activities for this program/component.
    (c) I certify that each project, program, and activity funded under 
this Agreement was selected after consideration of input from the 
public, including broad-based participation from individuals, 
businesses, and nonprofit organizations, as described in the grant 
application.
    (d) I certify that each project, program, and activity funded under 
this Agreement that protects or restores natural resources is based on 
the best available science, as that term is defined in 31 CFR Part 34.
    (e) I certify that this Grantee has followed in every material 
respect the applicable procurement rules applying to contracts in the 
Grantee's State for each project, program, and activity funded under 
this Agreement, including rules for competitive bidding and audit 
requirements. This Grantee agrees that it will not request funds under 
this grant award for any contract unless this certification remains 
true and accurate with respect to that contract. [The Council may adapt 
this certification to account for any standard contract terms that it 
develops under section 311(t)(2)(C)(vii)(V) of the Federal Water 
Pollution Control Act.]
    (f) I certify that a conflict of interest policy is in effect and 
covering each project, program, and activity funded under this 
Agreement.
    (g) I make each of these certifications based on my personal 
knowledge and belief after reasonable and diligent inquiry, and I 
affirm that this Grantee maintains written documentation sufficient to 
support each certification made above, and that this Grantee's 
compliance with each of these certifications is a condition of this 
Grantee's initial and continuing receipt and use of the funds provided 
under this Agreement.


Sec.  34.803  Conditions.

    At a minimum, all grant agreements under subparts D, E, F, G, and H 
of this part must contain the following conditions.
    (a) This Grantee must immediately report any indication of fraud, 
waste, abuse, or potentially criminal activity pertaining to grant 
funds to Treasury and the Treasury Inspector General.
    (b) This Grantee must deposit all funds in one or more financial 
accounts which have the sole purpose of receiving fund amounts and 
making distributions of fund amounts. This Grantee must maintain 
detailed program, financial, and accounting records sufficient to 
demonstrate that grant funds were used in accordance with the program's 
requirements. This Grantee must track program income and use program 
income for purposes of the grant before requesting more program funds.
    (c) Prior to making any subaward, this Grantee must execute a 
legally binding written agreement with the entity receiving the 
subaward. This Grantee and the subawardee must execute the written 
agreement before any funds are disbursed to the subawardee. The written 
agreement will extend all the applicable program requirements to the 
subawardee.
    (d) This Grantee must use the funds only for the purposes 
identified in the Agreement.
    (e) This Grantee must report at the conclusion of the grant period, 
or other period specified by the Federal agency administering the 
grant, on the use of funds pursuant to the agreement. The report must 
be sent to the Federal agency administering the grant and include the 
following information:
    (1) A description of the use of all funds received.
    (2) A statement that funds were used only for purposes identified 
in the agreement.
    (3) A certification that the Grantee maintains written 
documentation sufficient to demonstrate the accuracy of these 
statements.
    (4) A certification that the foregoing elements are reported 
accurately and that the certification is made from personal knowledge 
and belief after reasonable and diligent inquiry. The certification 
must be signed by a senior authorized official of the organization or 
entity receiving grant funds, who has oversight and authority over the 
administration and use of the funds in question.


Sec.  34.804  Records.

    (a) As a condition of receiving funds, the Council and its members, 
NOAA, grantees, and all subrecipients must make available their records 
and personnel to Treasury, including the Treasury Inspector General, 
for the purpose of assessing compliance with this Agreement, the Act, 
and other Federal laws applying to their receipt of funds from the Gulf 
Coast Restoration Trust Fund.
    (b) For grant agreements that exceed a three year period, the 
grantee must make an interim report at the end of every two years. The 
report must contain the elements listed in Sec.  34.803(e).


Sec.  34.805  Noncompliance.

    In addition to remedies available to the Federal agency 
administering grants, all grant agreements with the Gulf Coast States 
must be subject to the following conditions:
    (a) If Treasury determines that a Gulf Coast State, coastal 
political subdivision, or coastal zone parish has expended funds 
received under the Direct Component, Comprehensive Plan Component, or 
Spill Impact Component on an ineligible activity, Treasury will make no 
additional funds available to that grantee from any part of the Trust 
Fund until the grantee has deposited in the Trust Fund an amount equal 
to the amount expended for an ineligible

[[Page 54813]]

activity, or Treasury has authorized the grantee to expend an equal 
amount from the grantee's own funds for a project or program that meets 
the requirements of the Act.
    (b) If Treasury determines that a Gulf Coast State, coastal 
political subdivision, or coastal zone parish has materially violated a 
grant agreement under the Direct Component, Comprehensive Plan 
Component, or Spill Impact Component, Treasury will make no additional 
funds available to that grantee from any part of the Trust Fund until 
the grantee corrects the violation.

Richard L. Gregg,
Fiscal Assistant Secretary.
[FR Doc. 2013-21595 Filed 9-5-13; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4810-25-P