RESTORE Act a Victory for Gulf’s Ecosystems and Economy

Vote is a ray of hope for the people, wildlife and ecosystems hurt by the Gulf oil disaster

03-08-2012 // Miles Grant
White Ibis

The U.S. Senate today passed an amendment to add the RESTORE Act and the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) to the Senate transportation bill. The RESTORE Act would ensure that 80 percent of fines and penalties from the Gulf oil disaster would be dedicated to Gulf Coast restoration.

Today’s bipartisan vote is a ray of hope for the people, wildlife and ecosystems hurt by the Gulf oil disaster that began nearly two years ago,” said Larry Schweiger, president and CEO of the National Wildlife Federation. “It’s now up to the House to follow through on promises to make the Gulf whole again by passing this critical legislation to restore the Gulf Coast’s wetlands and ecosystems, the lifeblood of the Gulf economy. Final passage would represent one of the great conservation achievements in recent memory, protecting and restoring land, water and wildlife along our coasts, in our oceans and our public lands across the country.”

The April 20, 2010 blowout on the Deepwater Horizon rig killed 11 workers and the Macondo well would eventually release nearly 206 million gallons of oil along with huge quantities of hydrocarbon gases, providing a new setback to a Gulf ecosystem already struggling with years of wetlands degradation and the destructive power of Hurricane Katrina.

More than 6,500 birds, 1,100 endangered sea turtles, and more than 100 marine mammals (mostly dolphins) were found dead or captured alive in the disaster zone in the months that followed. Hundreds more dolphin deaths have been tracked since then as part of a NOAA Unusual Mortality Event. Dr. Doug Inkley, senior scientist with the National Wildlife Federation, updated the status of Gulf wildlife in an April 2011 report, The Long Road to Recovery, detailing the Gulf oil disaster’s impacts on key species and habitats, what to watch out for in the months and years ahead, and how we can help aid recovery.

Watch videos of Gulf restoration work at the NWF YouTube channel.

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