By: America's WETLAND Foundation | 1.20.2012
AWF TO CONGRESS: FAILURE TO
RESTORE GULF COAST WILL HARM U.S. ECONOMY
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 20, 2012
CONTACT: John Hill
NEW ORLEANS- America's WETLAND Foundation (AWF) Chair King Milling informed key U.S. House leaders that failure to restore the Gulf Coast would cause economic harm to the entire nation.
Milling, writing to key committee chairmen, urged approval of the RESTORE the Gulf Coast Act, sponsored in the House by U.S. Rep. Steve Scalise, R-Metairie. If approved, the bill will dedicate 80 percent of any federal government fines from the BP/Deepwater Horizon oil spill to the five Gulf states that sustained damage.
The Gulf Coast - America's Energy Coast - stabilizes the U.S. economy in terms of energy, fisheries and river-borne commerce, Milling argued. "Action to preserve the Mississippi River's delta and its coastal reaches must be swift and effective or we will all feel it in the pocketbook for generations," he said.
The RESTORE Act proposal conforms with the recommendations of the National Commission on the BP/Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling, chaired by former U.S. Sen. Bob Graham of Florida and Bill Reilly, former president of World Wildlife Fund and a former Environmental Protection Authority administrator, Milling said.
Milling sent letters to Rep. John Mica, chairman, U.S. House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, Rep. Nick Rahall, ranking minority member of the U.S. House Transportation Committee; Rep. Doc Hastings, chairman, U.S. House Committee on Natural Resources, and Rep. Ed Markey, ranking minority member of the U.S. House Natural Resources Committee.
"When extraordinary events spoil critical ecosystem, those responsible must be held accountable and it is also critical that the nation ensure the money is used to repair the damage," King said in his letters.
The AWF chair noted that new research commissioned by Entergy Corporation shows the demise of infrastructure along the Gulf Coast, compromised infrastructure that impacts the nation's ecological health and its navigable waterways, leaving the region vulnerable to sea level rise and more severe weather events. Milling offered to provide the House committees with more information that the Foundation has collected in its 10 years of building partnerships for policies and actions to help sustain the Gulf coastal region.
"We ask that you recognize the national benefits from repairing the damage done to our fragile coast," Milling said. "Thank you for moving quickly to advance the RESTORE Act introduced in the House by Representative Steve Scalise and others."
A Senate version of the RESTORE Act was introduced by U.S. Senators Mary Landrieu, D-New Orleans, David Vitter, R-Metarie, and Jim Sessions, R-Alabama.
The America's WETLAND Foundation manages the largest, most comprehensive public education campaign in Louisiana's history, raising public awareness of the impact of Louisiana's wetland loss on the state, nation and world. The America's Energy Coast initiative works to sustain the environmental and economic assets of the Gulf Coast region. The initiative is supported by a growing coalition of world, national and state conservation and environmental organizations and has drawn private support from businesses that see wetlands protection as a key to economic growth. For more information, visit www.americaswetland.com or www.futureofthegulfcoast.org.
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