The sportfishing industry has commended the bi-partisan House of Representatives members from the five Gulf of Mexico coast states for their efforts in directing much-needed funding to the region in the aftermath of the 2010 BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill disaster.
Similar to a companion bill introduced in the Senate in July, the RESTORE the Gulf Coast Act directs that 80% of the Clean Water Act penalties charged to BP goes to the environmental and economical restoration of the area.
“On behalf of thousands of recreational fishing-dependent businesses in the Gulf of Mexico, the American Sportfishing Association (ASA) thanks Representative Steve Scalise and more than 20 co-sponsors of the RESTORE the Gulf Coast Act,” said ASA President and CEOMike Nussman.
“Now that this legislation is introduced in both Chambers, we urge Congress to move swiftly and pass this legislation and the President to sign it into law.
“It has been 19 months since the oil spill and Congress needs to take quick action to aid the Gulf region in its recovery efforts.”
Without Congressional action, around 100% of these penalties – estimated to be up to $21.1bn – will go into the general treasury instead of towards the Gulf recovery.
Similar to the Senate version, the RESTORE the Gulf Coast Act directs a portion of the BP penalties goes equally to the five Gulf states.
“The RESTORE the Gulf Coast Act represents a thoughtful, fair and state-centric approach that balances both environmental and economic considerations,” said Nussman.
“In addition to the bill’s focus on habitat restoration and business recovery, the ASA supports the inclusion of a funding mechanism for fisheries data collection and research.
“Recreational fishing opportunity in the Gulf states and throughout the nation faces numerous threats from natural disasters to ever-increasing regulations.
“It is critically important that we invest in short and long-term fisheries data collection to help gather the science needed to properly manage fish stocks.”