Wildlife Victory! Congress Says BP Fines Must Help Restore Gulf

from Wildlife Promise

Thanks to the persistent voices of hundreds of thousands of wildlife advocates, Congress passed a Transportation Package that includes the potential for the largest investment in wildlife conservation in U.S. history and two very important wins for wildlife against Big Oil.

Congress Passes Gulf RESTORE Act

More than two years into the worst oil disaster in U.S. history, Congress passed the RESTORE Act today, which ensures that money from BP’s oil spill fines will be dedicated to Gulf Coast restoration.

This is a HUGE win for brown pelicans, dolphins and sea turtles that are still being impacted by the oil spill disaster that began in April 2010.

Dolphin Jumping in the Waves

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Why was this bill so important? Under the Clean Water Act, BP could face as much as $20 billion in fines for its responsibility in the oil disaster.

“Once BP’s fines and penalties have been established, the RESTORE Act will represent one of the most important investments in natural resources in America’s history, a critically-needed commitment to Gulf Coast ecosystems and the people who depend on them,” said Larry Schweiger, president and CEO of the National Wildlife Federation. “All of us now have the responsibility to make sure every dollar is invested in restoring the Gulf’s impacted communities and wildlife habitat.”

National Wildlife Federation and our members and supporters have been fighting for two years to make sure the Gulf gets the help it deserves. Thank you so much to everyone who helped make this a reality!

Keystone XL Provision Rejected

The icing on the cake is that the legislation passed today does NOT include language that would have forced approval of the Keystone XL tar sands oil pipeline. This was a very real threat and would have put endangered whooping cranes and swift foxes at risk of toxic oil spills, while also driving a rapid expansion of habitat-destroying tar sands operations that could put the lives of thousands of Canada’s wolves and caribou at risk.

This tremendous victory for wildlife is a testament to how Americans can hold our elected officials accountable to protecting America’s wildlife.

Let’s go celebrate!