The Senate has passed a transportation bill which reauthorizes the Federal Highway Program and would also help to restore the Gulf of Mexico. The Resources and Ecosystems Sustainability, Tourist Opportunities, and Revived Economies of the Gulf Coast States (RESTORE) Act, would dedicate a majority of Clean Water Act fines from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill to establish a Gulf Coast Restoration Trust Fund.
The Gulf Coast fund would help restore beaches, coastal marshes, barrier islands, and wildlife damaged by the millions of gallons of oil releaed into the Gulf by the BP oil spill. The fund would also support economic development in the region and help protect tourism, recreation, and commercial fishing. In addition, interest from the fines would help create a National Endowment for the Ocean, providing long-term, dedicated funding for ocean and coastal research and conservation projects!
Special thanks to our Florida Chapters and over five thousand Surfrider activists nationwide who have written to Congress in support of the RESTORE Act!
The bill will next be considered by the House of Representatives. Please check this blog post for upates on the legislation and more opportunities to take action!