By Elizabeth Skree and Whit Remer, Environmental Defense Fund
Today, the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Task Force released their final Ecosystem Restoration Strategy for the Gulf Coast. After the BP oil disaster, the President established the Task Force through an executive order and charged the group with developing a restoration plan for the Gulf Coast. You can download the strategy document here.
This restoration strategy is a vital step in fulfilling the promises President Obama made in his first oval office address to the nation last June: to recover and restore the Gulf Coast. Next, the Task Force will be charged with developing an implementation plan for restoring the region. The restoration plan will require dedicated funding to become a reality, and one avenue to secure that funding is the RESTORE Act.
The RESTORE Act would dedicate 80 percent of Clean Water Act fines from the oil spill to Gulf Coast ecosystem and economic restoration. The Senate version of the bill (S. 1400) has already cleared the Environment and Public Works Committee with strong bipartisan support, but it still needs to pass the full Senate. The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee will hold a hearing this week (Wednesday, Dec. 7) on the House version of the bill (H.R. 3096). We urge Congress to keep the momentum going and pass the RESTORE Act, so that environmental and economic restoration can begin in the Gulf States that so desperately need it.