The entire Gulf coastline from Texas to Florida continues to be impacted by the 2010 oil spill. The need for restoration is immediate. NETWORK, along with people of diverse faiths from across the country, call on the Congress to pass the RESTORE Act (H.R. 3096) as soon as possible in the New Year.
This piece of legislation would bring 80% of the Clean Water Act fines BP is obligated to pay directly to Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida. Without the passage of this act, the fines imposed on BP could be used improperly in unrelated areas, including reducing the deficit.
At a time when most in 45 other states are preparing for the Christmas season, the people of the Gulf Coast are still struggling to make ends meet after their way of life was decimated. Over two years after the spill, the tourism industry in the five states has yes to bounce back. In Grand Isle, Louisiana, the chemical dispersants used by BP can be seen from the shore in the waves. Fishing ships are permanently docked and family-owned businesses have been forced to close.
Redirecting a large percentage of the penalty funds to the victims who were directly harmed is the only just use of these funds. The individual states are best suited to identify and implement strategies that will stimulate a decimated fishing industry, return the coast to stable condition, and revitalize the tourism and housing markets.
Congress cannot delay.
The economic and environmental measures that RESTORE Act provides will enable revitalization of our suffering Gulf Coast. The ecosystem of the Gulf Coast supports seafood and fishing industries, proving to be a critical part of our nation’s infrastructure. As in the cases of roads and bridges, we must effectively invest in and maintain this resource to ensure the economic livelihood of the Gulf Coast states and the financial security of millions who live in the region.