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Louisiana hailed for coastal measures

May 24, 2012 at 9:19 AM

WASHINGTON, May 25 (UPI) -- Louisiana legislators were praised by a consortium of environmental groups for outlining a 50-year plan to protect the coastal ecosystem.

Lawmakers in the southern U.S. state passed, in a unanimous vote, a plan to lay out long-term goals for restoring coastal wetlands.

A coalition of environmental groups, including the National Wildlife Federation, the Environmental Defense Fund and the National Audubon Society, said the plan ensures a secure future for the Louisiana environment.

"As we applaud the state Legislature for its leadership and commitment to restoration, we must also now begin the difficult task of funding critical elements of the plan," the coalition said in a statement. "The $50 billion necessary to achieve the state's vision of restoration is far from guaranteed, but it is vital for securing our future."

The Senate in March voted 76-22 in favor of the so-called RESTORE Act. It would designate some fines collected from British energy company BP from the 2010 oil spill to Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas. Most of the fines would go toward the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council.

The consortium said it was up to U.S. lawmakers to pass the necessary measures to ensure the sustainability of the Louisiana coast.

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