A call to keep RESTORE Act moving

By Whit Remer, Environmental Defense Fund

Example of the oil stranded on the North Chandeleur Islands on May 8, 2010. Credit: NOAA.

Last week was a huge win for the gulf. On Thursday, the Senate passed the Nelson-Shelby-Landrieu RESTORE Act amendment to the surface transportation bill by an impressive bipartisan vote of 76-22. The amendment would ensure 80 percent of Clean Water Act fines from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill are dedicated to gulf restoration. The Senate is expected to hold a final vote to pass the transportation bill in the next day or two. For the RESTORE Act to become a law, the House and Senate must agree on the same bill and then send it to the President to sign.

Thankfully both chambers have taken steps to ensure that penalty money will go back to the gulf for restoration. Last month, the House strongly supported Rep. Steve Scalise’s RESTORE Act amendment to the transportation bill, which would create a gulf restoration trust fund. The chambers now must agree on a bill before the March 31 deadline. We encourage citizens to thank members who have supported the RESTORE Act and continue to let them know how much gulf restoration means to you.