Today Congress passed the surface transportation bill, which includes the RESTORE Act, a provision to dedicate 80 percent of Clean Water Act penalties from the BP Deepwater Horizon disaster to Gulf Coast restoration. Penalty amounts could range between $5 and $21 billion dollars. Audubon President and CEO David Yarnold released the following statement:
"The RESTORE Act is a lifeline for the Gulf Coast. It will create jobs, and it'll restore the places wildlife need to thrive,” said David Yarnold, Audubon President and CEO. "This is an act of hope and faith in America that has been generations in coming, and it’s the biggest conservation funding victory Congress has ever delivered."
Implications of the RESTORE Act:
- Each of the five Gulf Coast states will have the financial capacity to begin and complete restoration projects that have long been planned, but underfunded.
- Thousands of acres of lost habitat for birds and other wildlife in the region will be restored, repaired or replaced.
- Much needed re-engineering of the Mississippi River Basin will get a kick start, allowing that ecosystem to begin to rebuild itself, and helping to reverse the disappearance of Mississippi River Delta wetlands.
- Restoration projects large and small, spanning the entire coast of the Gulf of Mexico from the barrier islands of Texas to the Florida Everglades, will receive essential support.
Audubon public policy experts and scientists are available to discuss the legislation and its significance.