“The Nature Conservancy strongly supports the Gulf Coast recovery plan outlined in the Mabus report. With the release of this report, our nation has the opportunity to take a positive step toward a sustainable future for the people and natural systems in the Gulf of Mexico.
The Gulf of Mexico is one of the few places on Earth where the health of the environment is so obviously linked to the health of the economy and community on such a vast scale. Its citizens know this. In a soon-to-be-released poll conducted by a coalition of Gulf-wide environmental, business, and social justice groups, it is clear that coastal restoration is a high priority for the region—nearly three-fourths of Gulf Coast voters say they would be more likely to vote for federal legislators if they support funding for Gulf Coast restoration.
The Deepwater Horizon spill—the largest offshore oil spill in U.S. history—has refocused the nation’s attention on one of the most important and productive ecosystems on Earth. The lives and livelihoods of 24 million Americans living along this coast are linked to the health, resilience and sustainability of the plants, animals and natural communities that share this geography. The economy of the United States as a whole is tightly linked to the energy, shipping and other industries that operate in the Gulf region.
BP will be held accountable for the full cost of the damages associated with the spill, but given what’s at stake, the nation’s response must go well beyond cleaning up the spill. Coming on top of decades of degradation, merely cleaning up the effects of the spill will not be enough to restore all of the benefits the Gulf should be providing for the people of the region and our country. We need a bold vision and a robust long-term effort to protect and restore ecosystems across all five states, from Texas to Florida. No single entity or agency at any level of government can successfully resolve the complex and pressing issues facing the Gulf of Mexico, and we all have a role to play in restoring the region.
With the release of the Mabus report today, we can move from responding to a crisis to restoring the Gulf’s diverse ecosystems. While the full impact of the spill will not be known for some time, we can start recovery now with dedicated investment and accountable leadership grounded in collaboration with state and local partners. The goal should be no less than complete restoration of the bounty of the Gulf of Mexico—from its bays and estuaries to its marshes, seagrasses, fish, mangroves, coral reefs, and other plants and animals that make it one of the most biologically important and productive places on Earth.”
The Nature Conservancy is a leading conservation organization working around the world to protect ecologically important lands and waters for nature and people. The Conservancy and its more than 1 million members have protected nearly 120 million acres worldwide. Visit The Nature Conservancy on the Web at www.nature.org.