WASHINGTON – Legislation introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives that would facilitate restoration of the resources, fisheries and economies affected by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico drew praise from members of a recreational-angling coalition, the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership announced today.
Introduced by House members representing all five Gulf Coast states, the bipartisan RESTORE the Gulf Coast Act of 2011 (H.R. 3096) would dedicate 80 percent of Clean Water Act penalties charged to BP to restoration of Gulf Coast resources and economies. The bill’s language closely mirrors similar legislation introduced in the U.S. Senate in July.
Members of the ad hoc Gulf Spill Recreational Fishing Response Group, a panel of sportsman-conservation experts convened by the TRCP to provide insights into rehabilitating the fisheries, habitat and sport-fishing economy devastated by the oil spill, commended the bill’s introduction.
“The RESTORE Act targets resources critical to the Gulf region and its economic security,” Jeff Angers, president of the Center for Coastal Conservation and chairman of the GSRFRG steering committee. “We commend Rep. Scalise and the other Gulf States congressmen for taking the lead on this key legislation in the House.”
“During this time of fiscal uncertainty, these funds will play a central role in restoring the Gulf and its outdoor-based economy,” said David Cresson, executive director of the Coastal Conservation Association, Louisiana, and GSRFRG co-chair. “Conservationists and sportsmen applaud the House’s introduction of the RESTORE Act and its recognition of the importance of our coastal resources.”
In May, the TRCP released a report outlining recommendations for restoration of the Gulf of Mexico’s fisheries, fish and wildlife habitat, and economy following last year’s Deepwater Horizon oil spill. “The Gulf Spill Recreational Fishing Response Group: Recommendations for Resource Recovery” culminates a TRCP-facilitated outreach effort with local stakeholders and experts in the Gulf region as well as discussions with leaders in the Gulf recreational fishing and conservation communities.
“By introducing this legislation, Congress is demonstrating that it’s taking the recommendations of the Gulf Spill Recreational Fishing Response Group – which includes leaders in the sportsman and conservation communities – to heart,” said Michael Misurek, TRCP marine fisheries associate. “The RESTORE Act will provide the Gulf region with much-needed resources to improve restoration efforts and future science collection in the Gulf of Mexico.”
The Gulf of Mexico is one of the most popular areas for recreational fishing in the United States. Recreational fishing contributes $8 billion in economic output in the Gulf Coast region annually and supports more than 82,000 jobs.