The Environmental Defense Fund needs your help right now to seize an historic chance to restore the Gulf Coast to environmental health.
It is outrageous that a year and a half after the worst environmental disaster in American history, Congress still has not passed a single new law to repair the long-term damage done to the extraordinary and economically vital Gulf Coast and Mississippi River Delta.
But, right now, the bipartisan RESTORE Act gives us a golden opportunity to finally move forward. In our more than 35-years of work on this issue, we have never had such an important opportunity to make so much progress.
If Congress doesn’t pass legislation to direct BP’s fines to Gulf restoration, two things will happen:
- The funds will simply go to the U.S. Treasury’s “general fund” – to be used on unrelated federal spending, and
- We will have squandered a once-in-a-generation opportunity to invest in real Gulf Coast restoration.
Here is why this legislation matters. For decades, the fragile Gulf Coast wetlands have been cut up, channelized, and engineered to serve the offshore oil industry and shipping interests – starving the wetlands of silt and sediment and poisoning them with saltwater.
As a result, the wetlands are disappearing – not just shifting or changing – they’re actually vanishing at the astonishing rate of a football field every hour.
So, after the devastation of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, last year’s BP blowout and resulting oil catastrophe battered an already depleted and vulnerable coastline.
And the damage is still being felt. To this day, oil continues to wash up on Gulf shores. As much as 30 percent of the spilled oil is still out there: on or under beaches, draped across marshes, sunk to the bottom, floating as tar balls.
This issue isn’t complicated. As the Gulf struggles to recover, the only thing we’re asking Congress to do is simply pass common sense legislation to direct the BP fines to fix the Gulf.
Sadly, in Washington these days, nothing is simple. That’s why we need you to help us force the issue.