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Foundation will direct $356 million from oil spill criminal cases to Florida for natural resource pr

By Bruce Ritchie

Natural resource projects in Florida will receive $356 million from plea agreements in criminal cases involving the 2010 Gulf oil spill.

The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation announced the establishment of the Gulf Environmental Benefit Fund and allocations Monday to five Gulf states. The foundation, created by Congress and overseen by federal agencies, will administer and monitor $2.5 billion provided by plea agreements.

The foundation says on its website that it will consult with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection as well as with federal agencies identify projects in Florida.

Applications for projects are being accepted and those that have been submitted for other oil spill funds will automatically be considered, said Doc Kokol, a Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission spokesman.