Gulf Coast Restoration Measure Clears Major Hurdle

03-09-2012 // Peter Malof - Public News Service (TX)

This excerpt is from Public News Service - TX

In a rare moment of bipartisanship, the U.S. Senate on Thursday approved a measure which would ensure that the majority of settlement funds from the 2010 BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill are used in the Gulf of Mexico.

The RESTORE Act, co-sponsored by Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-Texas, steers 80 percent of yet-to-be-determined industry penalties toward Gulf restoration and research, instead of toward unrelated purposes.

Susan Kaderka, who directs the National Wildlife Federation's South Central office, calls the vote a big victory for Texas and other Gulf Coast states.

"We consider it a matter of justice that these funds from this terrible disaster be returned - or a large portion of them returned - to this area of the country that was so affected, to help it recover."

Approval came on a 76-22 vote, with both Hutchison and Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, in support. The measure was an amendment to a contentious transportation bill, which still will need to be reconciled with the House. The House already has passed a similar version of the amendment. The RESTORE Act does not affect the settlement of private claims, which are being overseen by a federal court. 

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