Texas State University will participate in a consortium conducting research on the Gulf Coast region, funded by fines from the Deep Water Horizon oil spill.
The consortium is one of two announced by Toby Baker, commissioner of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality. The selection of two consortia establish Centers of Excellence in Texas as part of the ongoing implementation of the federal RESTORE Act. The act requires that the five Gulf States affected by the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill establish organizations to conduct research on the Gulf Coast region.
Texas State's consortium will study sustainability, restoration and protection of the coast and deltas; research and monitoring related to coastal fisheries and wildlife ecosystems in the Gulf Coast region; offshore energy development, including research and technology to improve the sustainable and safe development of energy resources in the Gulf of Mexico and its comprehensive observation, monitoring and mapping of the gulf; and sustainable and resilient growth and economic and commercial development in the region.
"I am pleased that the first resources allocated from the RESTORE Trust Fund will enrich our state’s economy through research and development, while also highlighting Texas’ commitment to the health of our coastlines," Baker said.
Some $4.1 million in financial support will be available in March for the Centers of Excellence from 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 financial resources are devoted to the fund.
As required by the U.S. Treasury, the federal agency responsible for oversight of the centers, the two consortia were selected through a competitive process that is based on state statute and regulations used by the TCEQ for awarding grants.
Texas State's consortium is led by Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi and includes the Harte Research Institute for Gulf of Mexico Studies, the Center for Translational Environmental Health Research, Texas A&M University-College Station, Texas A&M University-Galveston, the University of Texas at Brownsville, the University of Houston Law Center, the Gulf of Mexico Coastal Ocean Observing System Regional Association and the University of Texas Medical Branch-Galveston.
The other selected consortium will study offshore energy development, including research and technology to improve the sustainable and safe development of energy resources in the Gulf of Mexico.