Texas first state to receive aid from Gulf Coast RESTORE Trust Fund for centers of excellence
Texas has become the first state in the nation to receive funding from the Gulf Coast RESTORE Trust Fund through a federal award to finance two Centers of Excellence.
July 1, 2015 -- Texas has become the first state in the nation to receive aid from the Gulf Coast RESTORE Trust Fund through a federal award to finance two centers of excellence. The two centers -- Texas OneGulf at Texas A&M Corpus Christi and the Subsea Systems Institute at the University of Houston -- will split an initial $4.036 million.
The federal RESTORE Act requires the five Gulf states affected by the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill to establish centers to conduct research on the Gulf Coast region. Texas Commission on Environmental Quality Commissioner Toby Baker, the state's representative on the RESTORE Council, manages the implementation of the RESTORE Act in Texas.
"We are pleased that Texas is the first state to be awarded these funds," said Baker. "Through these dedicated financial resources, we can now get to work and focus on the research and development needed to protect and revitalize our Gulf Coast and enrich our state's economy impacted by this disaster."
The Texas OneGulf Center of Excellence is being led by the Harte Research Institute for Gulf of Mexico Studies at Texas A&M University - Corpus Christi and includes the Center for Translational Environmental Health Research, Texas A&M University - College Station; Texas A&M University - Galveston;, the University of Texas at Brownsville; Texas State University; the University of Houston Law Center; the Gulf of Mexico Coastal Ocean Observing System Regional Association; and the University of Texas Medical Branch–Galveston.
OneGulf will assemble a consortium of Texas institutions focused on marine science and human health to promote collaborative, multi-disciplinary research, synthesis and problemsolving concentrating on the Gulf of Mexico. Their research will foster sustainable and resilient growth as well as economic and commercial development in the coastal region.
The Subsea Systems Institute Center of Excellence is being led by the University of Houston and includes Rice University, the NASA Johnson Space Center, Texas Southern University, Houston Community College, and Lone Star Community College. Subsea Systems Institute will study offshore energy development with a focus on science and technology to establish policy and best practices for safe and responsible energy development in the Gulf.
"Our vision is to create an institute that is recognized around the world as the undisputed leader in transformative deepwater technology," said Ramanan Krishnamoorti, chief energy officer and interim vice president for research and technology transfer at the University of Houston. "We will create, test, and provide the technologies that industry will need in the next five to 10 years."
The funds supporting the Centers of Excellence amount to 2.5 percent of the RESTORE Trust Fund, derived from administrative and civil penalties paid by those responsible for the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. The role of these centers could expand as more money is devoted to the fund.