The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers the Gulf Coast States Act of 2012announced the first public meeting for a council set up through the passage of the RESTORE Act in the wake of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill which affected Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida.

The Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council was established by the Ecosystem Sustainability, Tourism, Opportunities Revived Economies of .

The legislation dedicates 80 percent of administrative and civil penalties to be collected in connection with the 2010 Deepwater Horizon/BP oil leak to a Gulf Coast Restoration Trust Fund.

The council will be responsible for how a portion of that money will be spent on a comprehensive plan for ecosystem and economic recovery for the Gulf Coast.

The council is made up of governors from the five impacted states along the Gulf of Mexico, secretaries from the U.S. Departments of Interior, Commerce, Agriculture and Homeland Security as well as the Secretary of the Army and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency administrator.

“The council will work with the state and local communities to identify projects and programs that will restore the region’s natural resources and help benefit local businesses, boost their economies, and create jobs,” a corps news release said. “In order to ensure robust public input throughout the entire process, the council will hold several public meetings and listening sessions in each of the Gulf States in the coming months.”

The first meeting will be held from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Dec. 11 at the Renaissance Mobile Riverview Plaza Hotel, 64 S. Waters St., in Mobile, Ala.

There also will be an open house from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m., during which the public can discuss these issues with participating state and federal representatives.

To pre-register for the council meeting, visit: