ESCAMBIA COUNTY, Fla. (WALA) - Grover Robinson has been an Escambia County Commissioner in Florida for six years.
For the last two years, he's fought along side other officials across the Gulf Coast hoping to get the RESTORE Act passed.
Well that day finally came, as Congress passed the bill Friday, June 29.
"This is huge news, not just for northwest Florida but the entire Gulf Coast. There will be billions of dollars coming to the Gulf Coast and local governments. It's great news for all of us here," said Robinson.
The measure could bring billions in BP fine money to the Gulf Coast states affected by 2010's BP Oil Spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
The RESTORE Act stands for Resources and Ecosystems Sustainability, Tourism Opportunities and Revived Economies. The bill will bring in 80 percent of the fines in efforts to help economic and environmental recovery efforts.
Robinson and other local county officials joined together, hoping to get their voice heard and support state officials lobbying for the bill.
"We've been going up to Washington and talking about this. I can't tell you how many times we were told this wouldn't happen and why it wouldn't happen in this Congress. So the fact that it has happened makes it all the sweeter," Robinson said.
Robinson said the amount Escambia County will receive is still unknown, as is when they'll get it.
But the money will go towards helping the local environment as well as the economy.
"It won't happen tomorrow that we'll get money, but this will give us time to plan for how we do it. I think we need to be responsible with what we do so that. We can leverage the money into years of success for the Gulf Coast," said Robinson.
Robinson said in the years he fought to get the RESTORE Act passed, it never once felt like a sure thing. He says that's why the news is so gratifying.
"When you think of the devastation that occurred from the oil spill just two years ago, to see what we'll be able to do moving forward is amazing. In some ways, it's miraculous," Robinson said.
Officials believe the RESTORE Act will bring anywhere from $5 to $20 billion to the Gulf Coast.
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