Louisiana Sens. David Vitter and Mary Landrieu have introduced bipartisan legislation that says at least 80 percent of BP penalties should be paid to Gulf Coast states devastated by last year’s catastrophic oil spill to invest in the long-term health of the coastal ecosystem and its economies.
“The Deepwater Horizon explosion was a tragedy that took the lives of 11 men and devastated an already fragile coastline,” said Landrieu, a Democrat. “While there are many things that must be done to respond to that horrific incident, the RESTORE the Gulf Coast Act of 2011 is one of the most important things that needs to be done.”
The legislation introduced last week establishes the Gulf Coast Restoration Trust Fund to be made up of 80 percent of all civil penalties paid by BP or any other responsible party in connection with the Deepwater Horizon spill.
“We have a very strong bill with very strong support including the chair of the Environment and Public Works Committee,” said Vitter, a Republican. “Louisiana and the Gulf Coast took a beating from the oil spill last summer, and the culprits —BP — are being held accountable.”
Joining Landrieu and Vitter in co-sponsoring the legislation are Sens. Richard Shelby, R-Ala.,
Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., Thad Cochran, R-Miss., Roger Wicker, R-Miss., Bill Nelson, D-Fla., Marco Rubio, R-Fla., and Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-Texas.
“The RESTORE the Gulf Coast Act of 2011 is good news for Alabama's environmental and economic recovery from the oil spill,” Shelby said. “This legislation allows for great flexibility in the allocation of recovery funds to ensure that the penalties our state is owed are distributed in the best interest of Alabama's coastal communities.
“I am proud of the resiliency of Alabamians in the wake of the oil spill and will push for the enactment of the RESTORE Act so that we may continue towards a full recovery," he said.
Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., who heads the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, said she will take up the bill in her committee as soon as possible.
“We are here today to tell the people of the Gulf Coast region that we are committed to addressing the devastating impacts of the BP oil spill and to restoring the natural resources that coastal communities depend on,” Boxer said.
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