RESTORE Act to see Senate vote

Staff reports

U.S. Sen. David Vitter, a member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, today helped navigate the bipartisan RESTORE Act of 2011 - legislation to dedicate at least 80 percent of BP penalties paid under the Clean Water Act to Gulf states to restore coastal ecosystem and economies damaged by the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill - through passage out of the committee. The bill will now go to the full U.S. Senate.

“Moving forward with the RESTORE Act is a huge step toward vital, long-overdue coastal restoration work along the Gulf Coast in Louisiana and our neighboring states,” said Sen. Vitter.  “Our bill will go a long way in addressing the impacts of the environmental and economic damage from last year’s oil spill, and we think it’s more than fair to have 80 percent of the fines for this event dedicated for restoration along the Gulf Coast.  I’m ready to help move this bill through the Senate as quickly as possible."

Sen. Vitter joined Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., in introducing the RESTORE Act earlier this summer along with lead co-sponsor Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala., and seven other senators representing all of the Gulf Coast states. Original cosponsors include Sens. 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. Vitter worked to get each of these Gulf Coast Republicans to sign on as original cosponsors.

The bill will do the following:

·         Dedicate 80 percent of Clean Water Act penalties charged to BP to the restoration of the Gulf Coast

·         Provide needed resources and flexibility to Gulf Coast states to start economic and ecological recovery immediately

·         Establish a Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council and a Comprehensive Plan for the Gulf Coast focused on ecosystem and coastal restoration

·         Establish a Long Term Science and Fisheries Endowment and Gulf Coast Centers of Excellence