(WASHINGTON—May 24, 2013) Yesterday, the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council released its draft plan for restoring the Gulf of Mexico following the 2010 BP oil disaster. Leading restoration organizations released the following statement in response:
Groups urge Restore Council to focus on ecosystem restoration
May 24, 2013
Chandler Clay, Environmental Defense Fund, (202) 572-3312, email@example.com
Molly Moore, Environmental Defense Fund, (240) 393-0686, firstname.lastname@example.org
“The Council has taken an important step in outlining objectives and the criteria for selecting restoration projects in the Gulf, and we thank them for their efforts.
“Ultimately, the project list, yet to be finalized, should reflect a strong commitment to large-scale conservation projects that will restore the natural ecosystems of the Gulf, which are the backbone of the region’s economy and communities.
“We look forward to working with the Restoration Council to continue developing a comprehensive plan that prioritizes projects based on the ecosystem priorities outlined in the RESTORE Act. That means restoring and protecting the natural resources that our communities and economy rely on – from rivers and estuaries to the marine environment.”
A recent bipartisan poll conducted by FM3 and Public Opinion Strategies shows that three-quarters of Gulf coastal voters (76 percent) back using the money collected from the RESTORE Act primarily for restoration of beaches, wildlife habitat, coastal areas, rivers and other waters that affect the Gulf Coast. Voters across every major demographic subgroup of the electorate indicate a strong preference for using these funds for restoration of the Gulf’s lands and waters, including solid majorities in every state.
The Restoration Council directly oversees expenditure of 30 percent of RESTORE Act funds for ecological restoration projects, and must approve state priorities for expenditures for another 30 percent of RESTORE funds. The Council’s four Gulf Coast restoration goals include: restore and conserve habitat, restore water quality, replenish and protect living coastal and marine resources and enhance community resilience.