RESTORE the Gulf Coast Bill Introduced

On May 13 Save Our Gulf members sent a letter to the Gulf Coast Congressional Delegation requesting that Clean Water Act fines resulting from the BP oil disaster be dedicated to the Gulf Coast.

Our letter also included the following five asks:

•    Dedicate Clean Water Act fines resulting from the BP oil disaster to Gulf Coast ecosystem recovery.
•    A matrix or prioritization tool must be developed to ensure funds are spent on the best projects that will have long-term sustainability and resilience as the basis rise to the top.
•    An equitable distribution of funds must go to Gulf Coast states based on environmental and economic impact and have strict oversight by the Gulf Coast Eco-system Restoration Task Force’
•    A Regional Citizen’s Advisory Council must be created and included to guide restoration projects along the Gulf Coast.
•    Ensure local communities are able to compete for jobs and contract opportunities by giving preference to the utilization of local workers, small businesses and institutions while providing funding for training and workforce development, especially for vulnerable coastal communities and workers impacted by the oil disaster

Yesterday Senator Landrieu, (D- LA), Senator Shelby (R-AL) and several other cosigners, including Sens. Vitter (R-LA), Jeff Sessions (R-AL), and Bill Nelson (D- FL),  released the first piece of legislation that would earmark at least 80 percent of any Clean Water Act penalties from the BP oil disaster to the the Gulf Coast. The bill states that this money would go toward the "long term health and benefit of the coastal ecosystem and its economies". The RESTORE the Gulf Coast Act of 2011 will be taken up in the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee with assurances from Sen. Barbara Boxer to address this bill as quickly as possible.

We strongly urge the Gulf Coast congressional delegation to work together to make this legislation as strong as possible to help restore the Gulf Coast to a better position than before the disaster hit our shores.

Read the Press Release here.

Renee Blanchard, Save Our Gulf Coordinator

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