RESTORE Act victory for gulf, NWF says

March 9, 2012 at 8:21 AM

WASHINGTON, March 9 (UPI) -- A measure passed by the Senate is a victory for those along the southern U.S. coast hurt by the 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, an advocacy group said.

The Senate voted 76-22 in favor of the so-called RESTORE Act. It would designate some fines collected from British energy company BP to Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas. Most of the fines would go toward the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council.

Larry Schweiger, president and chief executive at the National Wildlife Federation, said the Senate vote offered a "ray of hope" to those along the U.S. gulf coast affected by the 2010 oil spill.

"It's now up to the House to follow through on promises to make the gulf whole again by passing this critical legislation to restore the Gulf Coast's wetlands and ecosystems, the lifeblood of the gulf economy," he said in a statement.

U.S. Rep. Doug Lamborn, R-Colo., chairman of a House subcommittee on energy and natural resources, testified during an oversight hearing for the 2013 budget for the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management and Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement that more energy development was needed along the gulf coast.

"The thousands of businesses throughout the gulf and nationwide that support this industry still struggle to stay afloat as a result of President (Barack) Obama's moratorium and the subsequent permitorium," he said.

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