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Establish a Gulf Coast Recovery Council

Congress should establish a Gulf Coast Recovery Council to to develop a plan for regional ecosystem restoration and supporting economic development.

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The Deepwater Horizon oil catastrophe beginning in April 2010 was a wake-up call to our nation, highlighting the Gulf Coast region’s dependence on the oil-and-gas sector, and the country’s dependence on offshore oil. Like the 2005 Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, the spill also highlighted the region’s vulnerability to disaster—as well as the incredible resilience of its residents as they fought to recover from yet another setback.

In response to these regional challenges, assets, and opportunities, and in full recognition of the critical work already done by Secretary Mabus and the Obama administration to move forward with a strong ecosystem recovery effort in the Gulf states, one course of action we recommend for Congress, the administration, and the Gulf Coast states take the following actions is to direct 80 percent of any fines administered through the Clean Water Act from the Deepwater Horizon disaster toward a Gulf Coast Recovery Fund.

To manage the fund, Congress should establish a Gulf Coast Recovery Council, a partnership of relevant federal agencies and the five Gulf state governors, to develop a plan for regional ecosystem restoration and supporting economic development. Such an effort should harness the practices of the Appalachian Regional Commission by working to create a “bottom-up” development process, one that builds the capacity of local institutions to identify local assets and fosters stake- holder involvement in project decisions by creating multicounty development and planning bodies, Coastal Restoration and Resiliency Districts.

For more on this issue please see:

Beyond Recovery by Kate Gordon , Jeffrey Buchanan, Phillip Singerman, Jorge Madrid, and Sarah Busch |

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