Senate Transportation Bill Contains Powerful Conservation and Oil Spill Recovery Provisions

Statement of Audubon President and CEO David Yarnold

Brown Pelican
Rebecca Field
Published: Mar 14, 2012
Washington, D.C. - 
The U.S. Senate's $109 billion surface transportation funding bill passed today by an overwhelming bipartisan margin of 74-22. The bill includes provisions to support both Gulf of Mexico restoration and American land preservation, which were added as a two-part amendment last week by a similarly overwhelming margin of 76-22.

"Today, the Senate made a down payment to generations to come by passing the most significant conservation measure in more than a decade. This is a commitment to fix nature's infrastructure along with roads, rails and tunnels," said Audubon President and CEO David Yarnold. "It says we'll pay for what we broke because we owe it to our grandkids and their grandkids. Let's celebrate this moment of hope and healing. BP's penalties will help restore the Gulf Coast under provisions of the RESTORE Act. And Land and Water Conservation Fund dollars will help us live up to our responsibility to be good stewards of our abundant natural resources."

Yarnold concluded, "Now that the House and the Senate have both expressed overwhelming support for RESTORE Act principles, it's time to get a final bill to the president's desk."

The RESTORE/LWCF amendment does the following:

* Specifically directs 80 percent of Clean Water Act civil penalties resulting from the oil spill to restoration of the Gulf Coast environment and local economies. This could mean as much as $10-20 billion.

* Distributes resources fairly and equitably to the affected Gulf Coast states, allowing them to launch immediate recovery efforts. 

* Ensures that the funds are spent responsibly and for their intended purposes.

* Establishes the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council which will develop and fund a comprehensive plan for the ecological recovery and resiliency of the Gulf Coast.

* Provides $1.4 billion over the next two years for the Land and Water Conservation Fund for acquiring and protecting precious lands across America.

For more information on the RESTORE/LWCF amendment, please contact David J. Ringer (dringer@audubon.org or 601-642-7058) to schedule an interview with David Yarnold or with Audubon's Legislative Director Brian Moore.

Yarnold's op-eds on this issue:  http://www.audubon.org/newsroom/press-releases/2012/david-yarnold-demands-bp-fines-go-restore-gulf

and http://conservation.audubon.org/newsroom/press-releases/2011/audubon-president-comments-gulf-coast-restoration-legislation-progress

###
The National Audubon Society saves birds and their habitats throughout the Americas using science, advocacy, education and on-the-ground conservation. Audubon's state programs, nature centers, chapters and partners have an unparalleled wingspan that reaches millions of people each year to inform, inspire and unite diverse communities in conservation action. Since 1905, Audubon's vision has been a world in which people and wildlife thrive. Audubon is a nonprofit conservation organization. Learn more at www.audubon.org and @audubonsociety.

Press Contacts

Delta Willis
Senior Communications Manager - Public Affairs
Main Office
225 Varick Street
New York, NY 10014
dwillis@audubon.org
(212) 979-3197
David J. Ringer
Media Relations Director -
Main Office
225 Varick Street
New York, NY 10014
dringer@audubon.org
212-979-3062