RESTORE Act Funding to Support Job Creation and Development in Autonomous Systems Industry

U.S. Senator Roger Wicker, R-Miss., today announced the award of a $2.7 million grant to the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) to fund workforce development and job creation. The funds are being made available as part of the Resources and Ecosystems Sustainability, Tourist Opportunities, and Revived Economies of the Gulf Coast States Act of 2012 (RESTORE Act), which provides funding for Gulf Coast states affected by the Deepwater Horizonexplosion and oil spill.


“Mississippi has made great strides since the BP oil spill disaster,” Wicker said. “This new grant award will help fund workforce development and job creation as our state’s cutting-edge autonomous systems industry continues to grow.”


MDEQ will sub-award funds to the National Oceans and Applications Research Center (NOARC). NOARC, which is located at Stennis Space Center in Hancock County, will use the grant to develop an industry growth plan for autonomous systems used in environmental restoration and monitoring. The plan will be based on performance and field testing, data collection and analysis, and outcomes validation. MDEQ will oversee the project.


Wicker and then-Senator Thad Cochran sponsored the RESTORE Act, which provided Gulf Coast states—Mississippi, Louisiana, Alabama, Florida and Texas—with 80 percent of the Clean Water Act fines related to the Deepwater Horizon explosion and oil spill. In addition, the funding supported the creation of a long-term science and fisheries endowment and the creation of Gulf Coast Centers of Excellence.


MDEQ has received twelve Direct Component awards from Treasury to date as well as a Centers of Excellence Research Grants Program award.