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(Washington, D.C.—October 12, 2011) Oxfam America and a group of Gulf Coast community organizations today said new legislation introduced by U.S. Rep Steve Scalise (R-LA), Rep. Jo Bonner (R-AL) and Rep Peter Olson (R-TX) is critical to Gulf restoration.
The House bill is crucial to building the momentum and progress towards using penalties paid by BP and others responsible for last year’s Gulf oil disaster to restore the region’s economy, ecology and communities. The RESTORE Gulf Coast States Act of 2011 was introduced this week and now has 23 other bipartisan leaders as co-sponsors. The New York Times editorial board has also weighed in on the issue, standing firmly behind the efforts.
“This action by the House, led by Representative Scalise, is yet another critical stage for this important legislation that will help Gulf Coast businesses create thousands of new jobs and restore natural resources that so many depend on for their livelihoods,” said Minor Sinclair, director of Oxfam’s US Regional Office. “The House introduction of the RESTORE Act combined with Senate action on the bill last month, means the momentum for its passage continues.”
The community groups in the Gulf Coast of Louisiana and Mississippi working with Oxfam America are Zion Travelers Cooperative Center (ZTCC), Bayou Grace, Bayou Interfaith Shared Community Organization (BISCO), Coastal Women for Change (CWC), Steps Coalition, and Terrebone Readiness & Assistance Coalition (TRAC). All of them have all contributed greatly to garnering support for the RESTORE Act.
The bill has overwhelming public support. A recent, national survey of likely voters shows 83 percent support a proposal to direct fines paid by BP and other parties responsible for the Gulf oil spill back to the affected areas for restoration and renewal.
“By funding worker training, we can create vital jobs in a tough economy for working families by building the resiliency of our most vulnerable communities and ecosystems. This is a powerful example of how legislators on both sides of the aisle can still work together on big national challenges. Opinion-shapers have taken notice and we hope the U.S. House moves quickly to pass this common sense legislation. We thank Representative Scalise and all the co-sponsors of the bill for pushing this forward,” said Sinclair.