For Immediate Release: March 12, 2012
Contact: Manley Fuller;Jay Liles - 850-656-7113
Florida Wildlife Federation Hails Senate Passage of Gulf Restoration Amendment
(Tallahassee — March 9, 2012) Yesterday’s historic vote in the Senate, to attach the RESTORE Act to the omnibus Transportation Bill, is being heralded by the Florida Wildlife Federation as a major milestone in setting the stage for Gulf Coast recovery from the BP spill of 2010. In a strong show of bipartisan support, the Senate voted 76-22 in favor of the amendment which provides a framework for expenditure of funds that will be paid by BP and other negligent parties as a result of the spill. The legislation dedicates 80 percent of the Clean Water Act (CWA) fines for the gulf oil disaster to restoring the gulf ecosystem and economy.
“The Senate’s overwhelming vote in favor of the RESTORE Act reflects the broad support for revitalizing the Gulf Coast region by ensuring the bulk of the money collected in spill fines is spent in the area that suffered so much harm,
” said Manley Fuller, President of the Florida Wildlife Federation. “We are grateful to Senator Bill Nelson who co-sponsored this legislation, with other members if the Gulf States Caucus, and who worked so hard to achieve this high level of support among fellow senators.”
The legislation will ensure that penalties paid by BP and others responsible for the 2010 Gulf oil disaster (estimated to be in the range of $15-21 billion) are used to rebuild the economies of Gulf Coast communities that were impacted by the spill and to restore the natural resources, ecosystems, fisheries, marine and wildlife habitats, beaches, barrier islands, dunes and coastal wetlands, that are the foundation of the Gulf Coast economy.
The Senate’s approval of the RESTORE Act follows the House's recent approval
of a similar bill which affirms the principle that the penalties for the Gulf oil spill belong in the Gulf for restoration. The next step is for the House and Senate to resolve the differences between these two amendments and enact RESTORE into law.
“It is important for all taxpayers to realize that the source of funds generated by this legislation will be the fines paid under the Clean Water Act penalties assessed to BP and not
from tax revenues,” said Jay Liles a policy advocate for the Federation who has been marshalling support for the bill. “Opponents to the legislation have used inaccurate and sometimes deceitful language to attempt to redirect the funds to other uses. Hopefully the Senate’s action will put an end to these outrageous attacks.”
The revised amendment also includes significant authorization and funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund and the National Endowment for the Oceans, both essential programs to protect key wildlife habitat and natural resources. “This was a good day for conservation of our natural resources,” said Fuller. “The Senate has reconfirmed the importance we all place on protecting natural treasures like the Everglades and economic engines like the Gulf that provide nearly 50% of the nation’s seafood.”