A measure facilitating economic recovery and restoration in the Gulf was recently finalized. Photo by Dusan Smetana.
Many in the conservation community offered praise for the recent finalization of a new transportation bill that includes the RESTORE Act, a measure facilitating economic recovery and restoration activities in Gulf Coast regions affected by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. President Obama signed the bill into law last week.
The RESTORE the Gulf Coast Act dedicates 80 percent of Clean Water Act penalties charged to BP and other entities responsible for the 2010 disaster to rehabilitation of Gulf Coast resources and economies. Nationally, activities related to fishing support more than 1 million jobs and contribute almost $125 billion annually to the economy, with the Gulf region making substantial contributions to those totals.
“Recreational fishing contributes $41 billion dollars in economic output in the Gulf Coast region annually and supports over 300,000 jobs,” said American Sportfishing Association President and CEO Michael Nussman. “The RESTORE Act provides a tremendous investment in rectifying the damages caused by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill as well as addressing historic deficiencies in resource management and conservation.”
More than 10 million migratory waterfowl winter or stop over in the Mississippi River Delta, and the region hosts a singularly important commercial and recreational fishery – resources that have been severely threatened in the wake of the Deepwater Horizon spill.
“The RESTORE Act acknowledges the consensus priorities of recreational anglers throughout the Gulf and the values of sportsmen throughout the nation,” said TRCP President and CEO Whit Fosburgh. “Furthermore, the willingness by the president and our House and Senate leaders to advance this important measure testifies to that fact that conservation policy is fundamentally bipartisan.”
At the same time, however, the TRCP along with many of its partners expressed deep disappointment that a provision that would have provided two years of dedicated funding, at $700 million per year, for the Land and Water Conservation Fund was removed from the final transportation bill. The LWCF uses a portion of revenues from offshore oil and gas leasing to conserve fish and wildlife habitat and increase access and recreation opportunities for sportsmen and the general public.
The LWCF has helped conserve some of America’s most important fish and wildlife habitat and popular sporting destinations and played a crucial role in maintaining access for hunting, fishing and shooting. Congress, however, has consistently diverted LWCF funds from their intended purpose, most recently in a House appropriations bill, passed on June 28, which slashes LWCF funding by 80 percent to levels not seen since 1968.
Key sportsmen’s groups call for Congress to maintain funding for land conservation and restoration in the Gulf. Read More
Restoration of the fisheries, natural resources and economies devastated by the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill progressed at the end of January with the release of a federal plan. Read More
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