Transportation Package Delivers Progress for Wildlife, Taxpayers
Includes Largest Investment in Wildlife Conservation in American History
Congressional negotiators have reached a deal on a wide-reaching transportation bill that includes the RESTORE Act, landmark legislation to direct BP fines and penalties to Gulf Coast restoration.
“More than two years into the worst oil disaster in America’s history, Washington is finally delivering on its promise to make the Gulf whole again. Once BP’s fines and penalties have been established, the RESTORE Act will represent one of the most important investments in natural resources in America’s history, a critically-needed commitment to Gulf Coast ecosystems and the people who depend on them,” said Larry Schweiger, president and CEO of the National Wildlife Federation. “All of us now have the responsibility to make sure every dollar is invested in restoring the Gulf’s impacted communities and wildlife habitat.”
The package also includes provisions to reform the National Flood Insurance Program.
“Flood insurance reform creates critical new protections for floodplains and wetlands that provide clean water, wildlife habitat, and the first line of defense against floods and the impacts of a changing climate, while saving taxpayers an estimated $4.7 billion over the next 10 years,” said Schweiger.
While the package leaves out mandated construction of the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline, it includes rollbacks to the National Environmental Policy Act and excludes important provisions passed by the Senate to reauthorize and ensure dedicated funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund.
“Rollbacks to the National Environmental Policy Act will make it harder to ensure that transportation projects are done in the most environmentally responsible way,” said Schweiger. “We are determined to work with members of Congress and the Administration to limit the potential negative impacts of these provisions and to pass legislation fully funding the Land and Water Conservation Fund.