The Nature Conservancy in Texas issued the following statement from its state director, Laura Huffman, in response to the passage of the RESTORE Act. The legislation was passed in Congress today as part of the Surface Transportation Extension Act. The RESTORE Act dedicates 80 percent of the Clean Water Act fines from British Petroleum (BP) and other parties responsible for the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill towards restoring the coastal environment and economy in all five Gulf states – Texas, Mississippi, Louisiana, Florida and Alabama.
“The passage of the RESTORE Act is a victory not just for the Gulf States but for all Americans. If you live in America, you rely on the Gulf of Mexico. The Gulf comprises the 29th largest economy in the world. It produces a huge majority of the seafood Americans eat, including 67 percent of our oysters. One third of the domestic oil we use comes from the Gulf. It supports one of the country's largest recreation and tourism industries — to the tune of $20 billion a year and more than 600,000 jobs.
The RESTORE Act will help revitalize the entire region by ensuring the bulk of the fines collected from those responsible for the Deepwater Horizon oil spill are directed back to the area where it is needed most, the Gulf of Mexico.
Transportation bill conferees and Gulf Coast Senators and Representatives, including those from Texas: Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison, Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson and Congressman Ralph Hall, should be commended for making Gulf Coast restoration a priority item in their final bill.
It is impossible to overstate the Gulf of Mexico’s significance to Texans. Our state boasts more than 3,000 miles of coastlines, bays, lagoons and estuaries in or along the Gulf of Mexico. Eighteen coastal counties are home to a full quarter of our state’s population and the Gulf supports seven of the top 10 shipping ports in the country; including two of the busiest sea ports in the world. In addition to providing economic, recreational and tourism benefits, the Texas coast provides critical stopover and nesting sites for threatened and endangered birds, sand dunes where sea turtles bury their eggs and some of the most important fish and shellfish nurseries in the Gulf.
This legislation will help ensure this workhorse will continue to be a healthy, valuable economic and ecological resource for Texans and all Americans.”
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.
Senior Media Relations Manager
Austin, Texas 78701