July 21, 2011
(ARLINGTON) The Nature Conservancy strongly supports the introduction of a Senate bill to ensure fines from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill are dedicated to restoring the environment and economy of the Gulf of Mexico.
Senators Mary Landrieu (LA), Richard Shelby (R-AL), Jeff Sessions (R-AL), Bill Nelson (D-FL), Marco Rubio (R-FL), David Vitter (R-LA), Thad Cochran (R-MS), Roger Wicker (R-MS), and Kay Bailey Hutchinson (R-TX) are co-sponsors of the Resources and Ecosystems Sustainability, Tourist Opportunity, and Revived Economies of the Gulf States Act of 2011 (RESTORE Act
“Full economic and environmental recovery of the Gulf of Mexico from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill requires more than cleaning up the oil and paying compensation for short-term damages,” said Brian McPeek, The Nature Conservancy’s North American Regional Managing Director. “Dedicating the oil spill penalties to restoration will help repair the longstanding environmental damage to the Gulf, create jobs in a new restoration economy, and pay dividends in a more vibrant future for the region.”
A bipartisan poll
this spring showed that 83 percent of voters nationwide support – and 69 percent strongly support – dedicating the Gulf oil spill penalties to restoring the Mississippi River Delta and Gulf Coast.
“In coastal Alabama, where the economy is almost solely dependent on the natural resources of Mobile Bay and the Gulf, we are working with partners to create new, clean nursery habitat for finfish and shellfish,” said Jeff DeQuattro, coastal projects manager for The Nature Conservancy in Alabama. “We are building 100 miles of new oyster reefs and planting
or promoting the growth of 1,000 acres of marsh and sea grass.”
As much as any place on Earth, in the Gulf of Mexico region the health of the environment is directly linked to the health of the economy and community on a vast scale. In Mobile Bay and the entire Gulf region, clean and healthy marshes, beaches and bays mean abundant fisheries, protection from storm surge and hurricanes, and a vibrant tourism economy. In fact, coastal tourism accounts for about one-third of the total tourism expenditures in Alabama. Vital commerce and industry and rich coastal and marine ecosystems have coexisted for generations in the Gulf. The economy of the United States as a whole is tightly linked to the energy, shipping, and other industries that operate here.
With public awareness of the Gulf of Mexico’s economic and environmental value at an all-time high, now is the time for cohesive action to protect and restore this national treasure for future generations.
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.