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Entries in RESTORE the Gulf Coast Act (7)


Young Pro Staffer Speaks From the Heart for Gulf Restoration

Here’s a report from Vanishing Paradise about the testimony of its youngest pro staff member during a public meeting in New Orleans. He spoke on behalf of restoration for wetlands and other fisheries habitat on the Gulf Coast.  

Nine-year-old Sean Turner waited patiently for his turn to speak. When his name was called, he marched confidently to the microphone in a room packed wall-to-wall with over 200 policy makers, state and federal agency reps, reporters, scientists, and community leaders. His comments were simple and straightforward. 

"I love to fish in Louisiana and I've done it my entire life. It's important that we're able to fish because it means so much to all of us. This is a lot of money we are talking about. Don't mess this up. I want Louisiana's coast to stay here. I don't want to lose it because of some dumb oil spill."

As he uttered the last word of the simple message that came straight from his 9-year-old heart, the entire room BURST.... I mean literally BURST into riotous applause and shouts of support. People followed him out of the room clamoring to share words of thanks, support, and encouragement.

In a room of conservation, legal, scientific and policy professionals, Sean made the most honest and meaningful statement. Subsequent speakers cited his comments as they spoke to the RESTORE council representatives. "Sean said it best. We have to get this right. We have a responsibility to do everything we can to make sure that his generation has the opportunity to experience the Louisiana we love, and to share it with their children. We have to get this right"

I couldn't be more proud of Sean and his mother Marissa. They drove from their home an hour away, on their dime, to make their feelings know and to make a statement for future generations.
And Sean did it better than anyone in the room.

Go here to learn more.


Senate, House Reach Bipartisan Agreement on Important Fisheries, Conservation Legislation

Once in awhile, both political parties still can agree on something.

According to the American Sportfishing Association:

A bipartisan, bicameral agreement reached on the U.S. Transportation Bill reauthorization is drawing high praise from the nation’s sportfishing industry and the broader recreational fishing community.

The compromise reached by members of the Transportation Bill conference committee includes two measures, the RESTORE the Gulf Coast Act and reauthorization of the Sport Fish Restoration and Boating Trust Fund, that together will have a significant impact on fisheries conservation and habitat enhancement in the United States.

“The importance of this agreement to recreational fishing across the country, and in the Gulf of Mexico region in particular, cannot be overstated,” said American Sportfishing Association (ASA) Vice President Gordon Robertson. “We are extremely grateful that the members of the conference committee were able to reach a compromise that will benefit our nation’s fisheries resources and the anglers who enjoy them for years to come.”

Read the full story here.


Shimano Joins Vanishing Paradise Campaign for Gulf Restoration

In signing a letter authored by Vanishing Paradise, Shimano has joined a growing list of notables urging the federal government to support restoration of the Mississippi River Delta.

“Sustainable recreational use by anglers of our natural resources relies on healthy fisheries and the habitat that supports them,” said Phil Morlock, director of environmental affairs for Shimano. “We are pleased to be able to support our friends in Louisiana through this effort.”

B.A.S.S., the Coastal Conservation Association, and the American Sportfishing Association are but a few of organizations on the list. They are joined by Mercury Marine, Lund Boats, Legend Boats, Pure Fishing, Pradco, Avery, Primos, Orvis, Yeti Coolers and many other businesses, as well as pro anglers Mike Iaconelli, Kevin VanDam, and Greg Hackney.

Focus of this campaign is Congressional passage of the RESTORE Act, which would direct 80 percent Water Act penalties from the 2010 Gulf oil spill for ecosystem and economic recovery on the Gulf Coast. Without this guarantee, some politicians would try to divert this money into the general fund, where it would disappear down a black hole of government waste and corruption.

Thus far, the measure has passed the Senate.

“Having Shimano, a household name in the fishing industry, sign this letter shows how much appreciation and understanding there is in the fishing and hunting community for Louisiana’s vital and productive—but rapidly vanishing—coastal habitats,” said Land Tawney, National Wildlife Federation’s senior manager for sportsmen leadership.

To learn more about Vanishing Paradise, Gulf Coast Restoration, and the RESTORE Act, go here.


Senate Approves Amendment to Help Restore Gulf


Ducks Unlimited photo

Great news! With U.S. Senate approval of an amendment, a huge second step has been taken to ensure that funds from the Clean Water Act and other penalties assessed following the Deepwater Horizon oil spill are used to pay for economic and environmental restoration projects in Gulf Coast states. (See Feb. 16 post: Your Help Needed to Ensure Gulf, Delta Restoration.)

In a bipartisan effort, the Senate passed the RESTORE the Gulf Coast States Act as an amendment to the Senate transportation bill. Previously, the House gave voice vote approval of a similar amendment.

"It is so good to see that an outstanding bipartisan boost for conservation can actually occur in this Congress, reaffirming the importance of healthy fish and wildlife resources across this nation,” said Noreen Clough, B.A.S.S. National Conservation Director.

“Senators Nelson, Landrieu, Shelby, and Baucus showed great leadership and stewardship in championing this legislation.  Every one of the more than 500,000 B.A.S.S. members should be celebrating this historic vote for fishing - for habitat restoration, access, infrastructure improvements, and especially for restoration of the ravaged Gulf of Mexico."

The Senate amendment also includes a much needed increase in funding for the federal Land and Water Conservation Fund, which provides money to federal, state, and local authorities for acquisition of land and water to benefit conservation and recreation.

“This provision would double current funding levels for the fund to $700 for each of the next two years and reauthorize it until 2022, for a total of $1.4 billion,” the American Sportfishing Association said.

Taken together, if the transportation bill with the RESTORE amendment attached should win final passage, these two doses of conservation funding would represent, by some estimates, the largest boost in conservation funding in American history.”

To learn more, read these stories:

Keep America Fishing.

Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership.

Vanishing Paradise.

House approves.


Your Help Needed to Ensure Gulf, Delta Restoration

In two letters to Congress, more than 650 fishing, hunting, and outdoor sporting businesses and organizations have stepped up to help restore the Mississippi River Delta and the Gulf Coast.

Have you?

If not, please do it now. Click here to tell your senators and representatives to support the RESTORE Gulf Coast Act, to ensure that fines paid by BP and other companies go where it is supposed to go --- to restoration.

Without passage of the act, greedy politicians could divert the money to the general fund, where it will disappear into a black hole of waste and political favors.

“The delta has suffered years of damage and is being lost at an alarming rate—a football field of land disappears every hour,” said Land Tawney of Vanishing Paradise (VP).

“The oil spill added insult to injury for this area and the entire Gulf region. Now is the time for Congress to pass the RESTORE Act, to ensure that oil spill fines reach the Gulf, where the latest round of damage was done.”

VP reports that a bipartisan poll this spring showed that 83 percent of voters nationwide support—and 69 percent strongly support—dedicating the Gulf oil spill penalties to restoring the Mississippi River Delta and Gulf Coast. The poll also showed that an overwhelming majority of conservative voters favor this proposal, including 76 percent of Republicans, and 78 percent of voters who agree with the Tea Party movement.

“Restoring the Gulf and the Mississippi River Delta is an important issue for all sportsmen,” said Mike Iaconelli, 2003 Bassmasters Classic champion.

“Those of us who hunt or fish need to step up and show we care about this issue. The disappearing Mississippi River Delta is not a problem we can’t fix, and Congress has a chance to do what’s right for the Gulf Coast. Now is the time for them to take action.”