The Nature Conservancy applauds today’s passage of the RESTORE Act as part of the Surface Transportation Extension Act. More than two years after oil spilled into the Gulf of Mexico, the Gulf coast communities of Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas are now guaranteed 80 percent of the Clean Water Act fines collected from BP and other parties responsible for the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill.
The money will be used for environmental restoration and economic development projects in each state. Each state will have a separate process to decide how the funding is spent.
“The passage of the RESTORE Act is a well-deserved victory for the Gulf Coast as well as the nation,” said Cindy Brown, director of The Nature Conservancy’s Gulf of Mexico program. “Restoring the Gulf will make the region more resilient, lessen the potential damage from future hurricanes and flooding, and create tens of thousands of jobs. A healthy ecosystem means a healthy economy, both regionally and nationally.”
Funds from the RESTORE Act will help to restore and protect coastal waters, wetlands and economically vital fisheries, which supply the majority of our nation’s seafood, including 67 percent of the country’s oysters. It will help revive the fishing and seafood industry, as well as the recreation and tourism industries that employ 600,000 people and contribute $20 billion a year to the country’s economy.
“We thank the Florida, Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas delegations for working across the aisle to ensure that today’s bill included the RESTORE Act that is so important to our region,” Brown said. “In particular, Senators Bill Nelson (D-FL), Richard Shelby (R-AL) and Mary Landrieu (D-LA), along with Transportation Committee Chairman John Mica (R-FL) in the House of Representatives, were absolutely critical for making this happen. We greatly appreciate their leadership.”
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.