WASHINGTON, March 15 (UPI) -- Leaders in the U.S. Senate deserve praise for ensuring 80 percent of the fines tied to the 2010 gulf oil spill go toward the environment, advocates said.
A $109 billion transportation and infrastructure bill passed easily through the U.S. Senate. The current bill expires at the end of March.
The bill includes an amendment that ensures 80 percent of the fines from violations of the federal Clean Water Act stemming from the 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico go toward restoring the southern U.S. coast.
A statement from the Environmental Defense Fund, National Audubon Society, National Wildlife Federation, The Nature Conservancy, Ocean Conservancy and Oxfam America thanked Senate leaders for what they described as a victory for the Gulf Coast community.
"Faith leaders, conservationists and sportsmen and strong majorities of voters from both ends of the political spectrum in gulf states and across the nation agree that it just makes sense for the fines from the gulf spill to come back to help repair the economic and environmental damage done to the gulf," the statement read.
A measure backed by Republicans in the House of Representatives calls for more offshore and onshore oil exploration.