Escambia County Commissioner Grover Robinson IV was interviewed on the BP Oil Spill RESTORE Act by Robin Reshard of the Pensacola Network at their monthly event at DeVilliers Square in the historic Belmont and DeVilliers Business District. The Pensacola Network, approaching its two year anniversary, invites business, government, and community leaders to an interview session to discuss strategic Pensacola and Escambia County issues and initiatives.
Commissioner Grover Robinson IV is a seventh generation Pensacolian who grew up in Escambia County’s District 4 where he now serves as the district’s representative on the county commission. He continues the political legacy of his father who served in the Florida Legislature who was well respected throughout the State of Florida and was an early supporter of the redevelopment of the Belmont and DeVilliers Business District in the 1970’s. Following behind his father, Robinson was first elected in 2006, and served as the Escambia County Commission Chairman in 2009.
Robinson stated that his involvement with the RESTORE Act process began shortly after the April 2010 oil spill. The flow from this spill continued into the Gulf of Mexico for days. He requested that county staff research the Exxon Valdez oil spill which occurred in Prince William Sound, Alaska, on March 24, 1989 and the Oil Pollution Act of 1990. The Valdez spill was the largest in US waters until the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill, in terms of volume released. Robinson stated during the interview that he feels that his request for this research on the Valdez disaster’s aftermath and the 1990 Oil Pollution Act “helped to dictate the progress of how to get out in front of it (oil spill recovery)”!
Robinson spoke of how the passage of the legislation, to bring the penalty funding back to the Gulf Coast communities, was in doubt when the steps toward passing the legislation first began. The major obstacles was the divided congress and the negotiations taking place in an election year with President Barack Obama seeking a second term. However, in July 2012 President Obama signed the RESTORE Act positioning Gulf Coast communities from Texas to Florida to receive billions of penalty funds to flow back to their governments for economic and environmental recovery.
Grover Robinson provided a slide presentation to further visually describe the process of the funding allocation. The first slide provided a chart depicting the flow of the various sources of dollars to the RESTORE Act. The second slide showed all five sources of funding from the so-called local component to the other four ‘pots’ of funding. Robinson placed emphasis on the first source of funding for local projects and placed additional focus on the third source of funding controlled by the Florida Association of Counties of which Commissioner Robinson serves as President.