DU Lauds Senate Effort to Restore Gulf Coast After Spill

WASHINGTON, D.C., July 22, 2011—Ducks Unlimited commended a group of U.S. Senators from Gulf Coast states as they introduced legislation that supports ensuring penalties paid by BP under the Clean Water Act are directed back to the Gulf Coast region. The legislation, known as the RESTORE the Gulf Coast Act of 2011, would direct 80 percent of BP penalties paid under the Clean Water Act toward the long-term health of the Gulf region's coastal ecosystems and economies. 

The original cosponsors of the RESTORE the Gulf Coast Act of 2011 are Sens. Mary Landrieu (LA) and Richard Shelby (AL). Cosponsoring the legislation are Sens. David Vitter (LA), Bill Nelson (FL), Marco Rubio (FL), Jeff Sessions (AL), Thad Cochran (MS), Roger Wicker (MS) and Kay Bailey-Hutchison (TX). 

Ducks Unlimited is encouraged by these senators' efforts and believes the introduction of this legislation is an important step toward the ultimate goal of restoring important waterfowl habitat along the Gulf Coast. 

"Ensuring penalties paid by BP under the Clean Water Act are directed back to the Gulf Coast region is essential to sustaining waterfowl populations," DU Director of Public Policy Barton James said. "In order to guarantee that waterfowl habitat restoration efforts take place, Congress must work together to pass meaningful legislation."

For decades, DU has been working to promote long-term wetlands restoration in the Gulf Coast region. Since the spill, DU and several partners have formally requested that Congress support legislation that ensures penalties paid by BP under the Clean Water Act are directed back to the Gulf Coast region. 

Coastal Louisiana is one of the most significant areas for waterfowl in North America. It provides migration and wintering habitat for more than 10 million ducks and geese. However, the Gulf Coast is experiencing staggering wetlands loss. In Louisiana alone, an area of wetlands the size of a football field is lost every 38 minutes. 

The Gulf's rich waterfowling tradition also serves as a significant stream of revenue for our nation. On average, hunting and fishing are an $80 billion per year industry. Restoring coastal wetlands provides positive benefits to America's great outdoors and economy. 

Ducks Unlimited is the world's largest nonprofit organization dedicated to conserving North America's continually disappearing waterfowl habitats. Established in 1937, Ducks Unlimited has conserved more than 12 million acres thanks to contributions from more than a million supporters across the continent. Guided by science and dedicated to program efficiency, DU works toward the vision of wetlands sufficient to fill the skies with waterfowl today, tomorrow and forever.

Emily Tyner