More than 100 Gulf Coast cities, municipalities, economic development groups and chambers of commerce urge Congress to pass RESTORE Act

Gulf Coast leaders discuss the importance of passing the RESTORE Act at a press event in Tallahassee. Photo credit: Kevin Cate.

Yesterday, 118 leaders representing cities, municipalities, economic development groups and chambers of commerce from all five gulf states sent a joint letter to House and Senate leadership urging them to pass the RESTORE Act. If passed, the RESTORE Act would direct the majority of fines paid by those responsible for the 2010 gulf oil spill back to Gulf Coast communities.

Both the Senate and House have passed versions of the RESTORE Act as part of their transportation bills. The legislation would dedicate 80 percent of Clean Water Act penalties from the gulf oil disaster to Gulf Coast environmental and economic restoration.

“Though the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill was two years ago, many in the fishing and oil and gas communities are still building back after suffering tremendous economic and personal loss,” said New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu. “The RESTORE Act provisions in the final transportation bill are vital to Louisiana. These funds will help rebuild our precious wetlands, which provide our country national, energy and economic security. It’s imperative that the RESTORE Act receives passage by both chambers and is sent to President Obama’s desk for signature.”

At a press conference at The Wharf Express in Tallahassee, Fla., local leaders spoke to the media about the importance of restoring Florida’s economy after the oil spill and passing the RESTORE Act as soon as possible. Photos from the event can be viewed here.

“In Panama City Beach, our economy depends on beautiful natural resources that were injured in the BP oil disaster, including our alluring beaches and fresh Gulf seafood, which drive tourism to our restaurants, resorts, and businesses,” said Beth Oltman, president and CEO of the Panama City Beach Chamber of Commerce in a statement released yesterday. “Passage of the RESTORE Act will not only put the Gulf Coast on the path to revitalize our precious natural resources but also to mend our economy.”

“The long-term viability of the Gulf is dependent upon preserving its coast. The economy and security of the nation is significantly dependent upon the Gulf,” said Michael Hecht, president and CEO of Greater New Orleans, Inc. in a written statement. “With this interdependence in mind, passing the RESTORE Act is both a regional and national imperative.”

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