RESTORE Act Provides the Means for the Long-Overdue Healing of the Gulf

Ocean Conservancy praises Congress for providing a comprehensive approach to restoring the Gulf of Mexico by including the RESTORE Act as part of the final Transportation bill.

Media Contact:
Tim McHugh, Media Relations Manager
Telephone: (202) 351-0492
Email: tmchugh@oceanconservancy.org

June 28, 2012

Washington, DC - Ocean Conservancy praises Congress for providing a comprehensive approach to restoring the Gulf of Mexico by including the RESTORE Act as part of the final Transportation bill.  Below is a statement from Chris Dorsett, Director of Ocean Conservancy's Fish Conservation and Gulf Restoration Program:

"The Transportation bill is far from perfect, but passing the RESTORE Act is a big win for the people and waters of the Gulf. The RESTORE Act will direct funding toward the places where it's needed most -- to execute a comprehensive ecosystem restoration plan and to ensure the future health of the birds, dolphins, sea turtles, fish and, of course, the local communities that greatly depend on our oceans.

"The RESTORE Act is simply about fairness for the Gulf. This is only the end of the beginning for restoration. We don't even know the full impact of the BP oil disaster yet. What we do know so far is troubling for the Gulf and shows that these resources are urgently needed.

"As both Ocean Conservancy and the President's bipartisan Oil Spill Commission recommended, this bill directs 80 percent of Clean Water Act fines paid by BP and other parties responsible for the 2010 oil disaster to strengthening and restoring the health of the Gulf region. Currently under the law, Clean Water Act fines would go to the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund and be applied to future oil spills instead of restoration of the affected region.

"We are disappointed that the National Endowment for the Oceans, which is an Ocean Conservancy priority and had passed in the Senate with bipartisan support, did not make it into the final deal. This program would promote the environmental and economic prosperity of all of America's coastal waters and Great Lakes and Ocean Conservancy will continue to advocate for it.

“We are also troubled by provisions in the final package that weaken environmental reviews to fast track projects that could harm wetlands and pollute coastal waters.

"Ocean Conservancy is very glad to see that the RESTORE Act establishes a research and monitoring program so that we can better understand changes in the ecosystem and develop management solutions that keep the Gulf environment and economy healthy. The science program can also support the design, selection and evaluation of restoration projects, ensuring financial resources are used wisely, and provide for adaptation of future management approaches as new information becomes available.

"Once the bill has passed it will be crucial that the money is spent wisely and in the spirit it was intended. We must all keep in mind that this is happening because of a catastrophic oil disaster, and the anticipated funds will be generated because those responsible are being held accountable."

Ocean Conservancy is working with you to protect the ocean from today’s greatest global challenges. Together, we create science-based solutions for a healthy ocean and the wildlife and communities that depend on it. For more information, visit www.oceanconservancy.org, or follow us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.

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