NWF Praises Recommendations that Oil Spill Fines go to Gulf Recovery
Mabus Report Delivers on 1st Part of President’s Promise to Make Gulf Better than Before BP Oil Disaster
Emily Guidry Schatzel
Today, National Wildlife Federation commended a new government report detailing a long-term environmental restoration plan for the Gulf Coast. The report, released today by Navy Secretary and former Mississippi Governor Ray Mabus, calls for Congress to create a Gulf Coast Recovery Fund, dedicating a “significant amount” of penalties levied against BP for the Gulf oil disaster to restoration efforts in the Gulf.
The first step expected in the restoration plan is for President Obama to sign an executive order creating a Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Task Force led by Environmental Protection Agency administrator and New Orleans native Lisa P. Jackson. The task force is charged with ensuring a seamless transition from oil spill response work to recovery of the area.
“Today’s call to Congress to support Gulf Coast restoration is welcome news to NWF and others who have worked tirelessly advocating for large-scale restoration and recovery of the Louisiana coast,” Karla Raettig, NWF’s National Campaign Director for Coastal Louisiana, said. “The Gulf region is a cornerstone of our national economy, environment and culture that has been sacrificed for national priorities, as evidenced by this summer’s oil spill. Bold, aggressive action is needed—like the plan set forth in today’s report—to ensure this area is preserved for coastal wildlife, businesses and communities.
NWF joined in a statement with the Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana, Environmental Defense Fund, Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation and National Audubon Society in support of Mabus’s findings.
“Secretary Mabus is doing his part to fulfill President Obama’s promise to create a long-term plan to restore the Gulf Coast and make it better than it was before the BP oil disaster,” the statement said. “Now it’s up to President Obama and Congress to act this year to ensure that the fines paid by BP under existing law are directed to restoring the Gulf, and that the new penalties included in House legislation are made law.”
“Restoring the Gulf will require that numerous federal agencies work closely together, with Congress, and with state governments. An executive order should give Administrator Jackson all the tools she needs to move quickly and effectively,” the groups concluded.