Another Step Forward for Gulf Restoration

This afternoon, the Senate passed the RESTORE Act amendment with an overwhelming show of support—76 to 22. This legislation would dedicate 80 percent of the Clean Water Act fines from the oil disaster to restoring the Gulf’s economies and ecosystems.

Today’s vote is a huge step towards restoring the Gulf of Mexico in the wake of the oil spill.

“The Senate’s overwhelming vote in favor of the RESTORE Act reflects the broad nationwide support for revitalizing the Gulf Coast region by ensuring the bulk of the money collected in spill fines is spent in the area that suffered so much harm,” said a joint statement issued by Environmental Defense Fund, National Audubon Society, National Wildlife Federation, The Nature Conservancy, Ocean Conservancy and Oxfam America.

Next Steps

While this vote is an incredibly positive development, it’s not over yet. We expect a final vote on the overall Senate transportation bill early next week. The House has already passed a “lite” version of the RESTORE Act as an amendment to their transportation bill, but has not passed a transportation bill itself. Once both transportation bills pass, the differences between the two will need to be worked out in conference.

The National Wildlife Federation will be working hard to make sure the Senate version of the RESTORE Act is included in whatever the final package is, but today’s win and the recent show of support for RESTORE on the House amendment puts us in a strong position to ensure that money from BP’s oil spill fines ends up dedicated to restoration.

Thank you

This vote would not have turned out as well as it did without strong support from the National Wildlife Federation’s supporters. In the past few months, more than 25,000 of you have asked your Senators to support the RESTORE Act.

The principles behind the RESTORE Act have wide public support. A nationwide poll of 1,006 likely general election voters showed that 83 percent of U.S. voters support dedicating BP’s oil spill fines to the region affected, while only 7 percent opposed.