Port St. Joe Native Joins Board Tasked with Economic Recovery, Diversification, and Enhancement of Counties Disproportionately Affected by the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill
Florida Senate President Joe Negron (R-Stuart) today appointed Jason Shoaf of Port St. Joe to the Board of Directors of Triumph Gulf Coast, Inc. Mr. Shoaf serves as the Vice President of St. Joe Natural Gas Company.
“Jason Shoaf is a lifelong resident of the Florida Panhandle with deep roots in Gulf County. He has a passion for the community and is committed to seeing the full economic recovery of Northwest Florida,” said President Negron. “His business background and record of service to his community make him an excellent addition to the already prestigious board of directors.”
“For the better part of the last decade, our communities have been feeling the impacts of the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill. The legislation we passed earlier this year affirms our longstanding commitment to keep these critical funds in Northwest Florida,” said Senator Bill Montford (D-Tallahassee), who represents Gulf County in the Florida Senate. “Jason Shoaf is a family man and community leader who will be a great advocate for, not only Gulf County, but our entire region.”
Earlier this year, the Florida Legislature unanimously passed and Governor Scott signed into law House Bill 7077, which amended the Gulf Coast Economic Corridor Act to ensure funds received in the settlement of the state’s economic damage claims caused by the 2010 Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill remain in Northwest Florida’s eight disproportionately affected counties.
The eight disproportionally affected counties receive 75 percent of all economic damage settlement funds received by the state. House Bill 7077 immediately appropriates the initial settlement payment to Triumph Gulf Coast, Inc., and releases subsequent settlement payments directly to Triumph Gulf Coast, Inc., no later than 30 days after they are received by the state. As required by the new law, the initial settlement payment of $300 million has been dispersed to Triumph Gulf Coast.
Former House Speaker Allan Bense chairs the board. He is joined on the board by Stan Connally Jr., Pam Dana, Stephen Riggs IV, and Bob Bonezzi. The President of the Senate, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Governor, Attorney General, and Chief Financial Officer, each appointed one board member.
House Bill 7077 requires the addition of two new appointees to the current five-member board, expanding the board to seven members. The President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives must each appoint an additional member from the private sector in one of the four least populous disproportionately affected counties ensure that two such counties are represented on the board.
In 2013, the Legislature created Triumph Gulf Coast, Inc., to ensure economic damage settlement funds coming to the state would both benefit the eight disproportionately affected counties and be properly accounted for. The Triumph Gulf Coast Board is tasked to make awards to programs and projects that meet the priorities for economic recovery, diversification, and enhancement of the disproportionately affected counties. The corporation is required to abide by the state’s public record laws and public meeting notice requirements.
The eight Florida counties disproportionately affected by the Deepwater Horizon Spill include: Bay, Escambia, Franklin, Gulf, Okaloosa, Santa Rosa, Walton, and Wakulla Counties.