(Washington, D.C. – June 29, 2012) A coalition of six Gulf Coast restoration advocacy groups praised Congress today for passing the RESTORE Act as part of the Surface Transportation Extension Act. The RESTORE Act dedicates 80 percent of the Clean Water Act fines from BP and other parties responsible for the 2010 gulf oil spill to restoring the Gulf Coast environment and economy.
"The passage of this critical legislation reflects both the importance of restoration to Gulf states and broad nationwide support for revitalizing the ecosystems, communities and economies of the region," said a joint statement by Environmental Defense Fund, National Audubon Society, National Wildlife Federation, The Nature Conservancy, Ocean Conservancy and Oxfam America.
"We commend Senators Barbara Boxer, Mary Landrieu, Richard Shelby, Bill Nelson, Senate leadership, conferees and cosponsors for their tireless effort in seeing the RESTORE Act to the finish line,” the groups added. “We also thank Representatives Steve Scalise, Jo Bonner, Steve Palazzo and Cedric Richmond as well as House leadership and conferees for making Gulf Coast restoration a priority and including the RESTORE Act in the transportation bill conference report."
"Passage of the RESTORE Act will not only help the ailing Gulf Coast but also the entire nation by restoring treasured natural landscapes, creating new job and training opportunities for local workers and repairing communities," the statement continued. "The Gulf ecosystems are a unique and incredibly valuable natural resource and we applaud Congress for prioritizing their restoration."
"We look forward to working with the Gulf states and the Administration to make sure the funds help restore these critical ecosystems, vulnerable communities and local economies."