Business and community leaders in the Gulf clearly recognize the important link between a healthy environment and a thriving, resilient economy. From engineering firms to power companies to fishermen and even the United States Air Force, leaders are calling for environmental restoration to create jobs, strengthen Gulf communities and contribute to long-term economic renewal.
Read what they have to say:
Gulf business leaders talk about restoration.
“Most companies that call the Gulf Coast home are hoping that the RESTORE Act brings well-needed business and project funding to the area. It has been a rough 4 or 5 years for the Gulf Coast, and I see the RESTORE Act as a mechanism to not only benefit the ecosystem but to also help the economy with projects that will produce jobs.”
Sandy Sims is the Community Development Manager at Gulf Power, one of the major partners in creating Project Greenshores, a multi-million dollar habitat restoration and creation project located in Downtown Pensacola, Florida along the urban shoreline of Pensacola Bay.
“The LA coast is losing wetlands at a rate of one football field every hour, which amounts to about 24 square miles being lost each year. However, using market-based solutions, we can work to reverse this disturbing trend.”
President of BFA Environmental in Orlando, Patrick Barnes is also the founder of the non-profit Limitless Vistas, which prepares young people for environmental jobs.
“As one of the first firms to win a contract on a post-BP spill environmental restoration project in Mississippi, I have witnessed firsthand that investments in coastal restoration can mean jobs for coastal workers and economic growth for local businesses and communities.”
“Oyster harveting used to be a viable industry in our area, employing 30 boats and their crews at one time, which has all but vanished at this time. In my opinion, [the] restoration of our bays and estuaries is the only thing we can do to ensure a future on the water. . . . More than anything, I’d like for our oyster industry to come back.”
“We have a once in a lifetime opportunity to restore what has been damaged and protect what remains. We also have a tremendous opportunity to build markets and jobs around the restoration and protection work that remains to be done, and to be a world leader in restoration and protection innovation.”
“I am very optimistic about the future of the Gulf [as] business and environmental communities are coming together and recognize that wise stewardship of Gulf resources is a must in order for both economic and environmental objectives to be realized.”
“I support coastal restoration because it is essential for preserving the way of life of the people who live in this area.”
“Long-term restoration will require perseverance and collaboration, as well as sustained funding.”
“We have an opportunity to recognize the irreplaceable value of the Gulf’s bounty and create projects designed, funded, contracted and staffed with a maximum level of local involvement and economic, environmental and social benefits.”
“I’m fourth-generation in the business—it’s a nice legacy to be a part of. I have two children who could one day become the fifth generation in the business, and I would like to leave them a healthy environment.”
“Eglin Air Force Base’s renowned environmental programs are committed to protecting this natural resource to ensure the continued operation of the most important Department of Defense range capability in the world."
“A restoration effort for the Gulf will not only preserve this one of kind ecosystem, but will also allow businesses that depend on this resource to exist into the future.”
“The biggest opportunity that I see in the future of the Gulf coast is the merging of the ‘working coast’ in its economic development with the restoration of the environment. The correlation has always been there, but the momentum to intentionally combine these efforts has never been greater.”
“As a co-founder of the Lynn Meadows Discovery Center, Mississippi’s first children’s museum, our goal was to provide a place for children to learn to appreciate the world in which he or she lives. Teaching children about restoration is critical to the future of the Gulf.”
“The Gulf is extensive, dynamic and diverse. I am optimistic about the future of the region, particularly in the will of the Gulf community to work together to rebuild and conserve the resources that have been lost and damaged.”
“Restoration of the Gulf of Mexico is critical to the economic vitality and ecological sustainability of the Gulf region. Funding provided through the RESTORE Act offers an unprecedented generational opportunity for Gulf Coast states and local governments to implement coastal zone projects that promote habitat restoration, water quality improvement, environmental sustainability, and economic resiliency.”