You would think that it would be a given that money paid as penalties by BP for the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico would go for recovery of the environment and economy in that area.
But that would be too direct and sensible for those who govern us. Without Congressional action, 100 percent of the billions of dollars in penalties will go into the general treasury. And from there . . . Who knows? Maybe to a solar plant in California or a cowboy poetry festival in Nevada.
That’s why passage of the RESTORE the Gulf Coast Act (H.R. 3096) is so important. It specifies that 80 percent of the Clean Water Act penalties be used for restoration of the Gulf Coast environment and economy.
A companion bill in the Senate has passed out of committee and now awaits a full vote on the floor.
“The RESTORE the Gulf Coast Act represents a thoughtful, fair and state-centric approach that balances both environmental and economic considerations,” said Mike Nussman of the American Sportfishing Association.
“In addition to the bill’s focus on habitat restoration and business recovery, ASA supports the inclusion of a funding mechanism for fisheries data collection and research. Recreational fishing opportunity in the Gulf and throughout the nation faces numerous threats from natural disasters to ever-increasing regulations. It is critically important that we invest in short- and long-term fisheries data collection to help gather the science needed to properly manage fish stocks.”