New hope for Gulf habitat restoration
Sportsmen applaud passage of RESTORE Act
Sportsmen’s groups are hailing final passage this week of the new federal transportation bill that contains key elements of the RESTORE Act which will direct 80 percent of Clean Water Act fines levied against parties responsible for the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster to Gulf Coast resources and economies.
“This is a significant infusion of funding at a time when there is no shortage of shovel-ready habitat restoration projects all along the Gulf Coast,” said Pat Murray, president of Coastal Conservation Association. “The elected officials who fought to ensure that those funds are invested back into the Gulf community are to be commended for their efforts.”
In particular, Senators Mary Landrieu (D-La.), Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) and David Vitter (R-La.) played prominent roles in shepherding the legislation, as did Congressmen Steve Scalise (R-La.), Jo Bonner (R-Ala.) and Steve Southerland (R-Fla.). With fishing, hunting and wildlife-related enterprises comprising a multi-billion dollar slice of the Gulf Coast economy, the RESTORE Act is an investment in restoration that will pay dividends in the future.
“Without this investment in restoration, the people and wildlife that depend on the Gulf region’s ecosystem, as well as industries vital to the entire country, remain even more susceptible to future disasters,” said Dale Hall, chief executive officer of Ducks Unlimited. “This legislation is important to the entire country. The region is an often overlooked but important part of the foundation of our national economy, and the financial strength of the nation is intrinsically tied to this region's environmental well-being."