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Center for American Progress

STATEMENT: CAP’s Conathan on Senate Passage of RESTORE the Gulf Coast Act
Press Statement

STATEMENT: CAP’s Conathan on Senate Passage of RESTORE the Gulf Coast Act

By a vote of 74–22, the U.S. Senate today passed the RESTORE the Gulf Coast Act as part of the surface transportation bill, which will direct 80 percent of Clean Water Act fines charged to BP directly to the Gulf Coast states affected by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Michael Conathan, Director of Ocean Policy at the Center for American Progress, issued the following statement:

By advancing this bipartisan legislation, the U.S. Senate demonstrated its commitment to helping Gulf Coast communities recover from the worst oil spill in U.S. history. The RESTORE Act is not only a critical step toward restoring the valuable ecosystems damaged by the spill but also an opportunity to create new jobs and industries across the region that will diversify and strengthen the Gulf Coast economy.

Several provisions in the bill were central recommendations of “Beyond Recovery,” a 2011 report from the Center for American Progress and Oxfam America, including requirements that a majority of funding be used to address large-scale environmental restoration needs, insurance that local stakeholders have representation in directing the distribution of funds, and preferences given for local hiring and socioeconomically vulnerable communities.

The House of Representatives has also passed similar legislation introduced by Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA). As the House turns to the transpotation bill, I encourage House leadership to do the right thing and ensure the Senate version of the RESTORE Act remains intact and connected to the transportation bill. Gulf Coast communities have waited long enough.

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To speak with Michael Conathan, please contact Christina DiPasquale at 202.481.8181 or [email protected].