(August 13, 2014—Washington, DC) This morning, the Treasury Department released an Interim Final Rule describing how RESTORE Act funds can be spent.
The Restore the Mississippi River Delta Campaign – a coalition of Environmental Defense Fund, National Wildlife Federation, National Audubon Society, Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation and the Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana – issued the following statement:
“Today’s regulations are a vital step forward on the long road to restoring the Gulf Coast and the Mississippi River Delta in Louisiana, which was ground zero for the 2010 oil disaster. We thank the Treasury Department for preserving the RESTORE Act’s intended purpose to restore damaged ecosystems.
“The Mississippi River Delta in Louisiana is a cornerstone for the ecological and economic well-being of the entire northern Gulf. But Louisiana is losing a football field of land every hour – a land loss crisis that was further exacerbated by the oil spill. All along the Gulf Coast, environmental restoration is urgently needed. There is no time to lose, especially in the delta.
“We hope this rule will provide the RESTORE Council and the state of Louisiana with the information needed to expedite progress to develop a funded project list and restore our coast. Our communities, wildlife and local economies depend on comprehensive ecosystem restoration so they can be enjoyed for generations to come.”
The RESTORE Act sends 80 percent of all Clean Water Act fines resulting from the 2010 Gulf oil disaster back to the Gulf states to use for restoration. Once these regulations from the Treasury Department are finalized, the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council will be able to access $800 million from the Transocean settlement.
BP and other parties responsible for the oil spill face as much as $4,300 per barrel in Clean Water Act fines. The ongoing trial is set to resume in January 2015.