AWF Statement On Legislation Introduced in Congress by Senators Landrieu and Vitter

The introduction today by Senators Landrieu and Vitter of “RESTORE the Gulf Coast Act of 2011” represents an important milestone in securing essential funding for the restoration of the Gulf Coast, particularly the dramatic land loss in the Mississippi River Delta that threatens the environmental and economic stability of the region. The legislation rightfully directs 80% of BP oil spill penalties to areas most hard hit by the impacts of the oil spill.

As we have recently learned from local community forums to build a more resilient Gulf Coast, time is running out on sustaining many parts of the region’s ecosystem – its estuaries, habitats and communities. A rash of storm events, coastal erosion, subsidence, sea level rise and the trapping of sediments upriver, have contributed in making the Gulf Coast one of the most environmentally vulnerable regions of the world

King Milling, AWF Chairman said, “We applaud the bi-partisan effort in the Senate and urge all Congressional leaders of the five states in the region to join in supporting this legislation. Early action is critical to the survival of many of these communities and the RESTORE legislation can help ensure that crucial restoration gets underway in time to make a difference.”

Karen Gautreaux, Director of Government Relations for The Nature Conservancy’s Gulf of Mexico Program and AWF board member, said, “The Gulf of Mexico is a phenomenal natural resource that is the platform for coastal communities and economic resources that benefit the region and nation. It is important to invest significant portions of the Clean Water Act fines resulting from the BP spill into the restoration of the Gulf ecosystem. This legislation represents an important step in that direction.