Restoration Council Starts Critical Conversation with "Path Forward"

Draft plan clearly commits at least 30 percent of RESTORE funds to Gulf ecosystems

WASHINGTON, Jan. 29, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Today, the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council released its proposed path forward for restoring the Gulf of Mexico following the 2010 BP oil disaster. Leading restoration organizations, Environmental Defense Fund, National Wildlife Federation, National Audubon Society, The Nature Conservancy, and Ocean Conservancy released the following statement in response:

"The draft Path Forward released today is a welcome and encouraging first step as the Council clearly commits to directing 30 percent of the RESTORE Act funds to ecosystem restoration under the comprehensive plan. 

"The Path Forward also outlines how the Council will ensure that economic investments in state expenditure plans will be consistent with its comprehensive plan to restore the Gulf's natural resources.

"In the spirit of the promises made by the President and leaders in Congress, the Council will need to translate its commitment into specific actions and tighten its focus on restoring the environment as the drafting process continues. 

"The people of the Gulf rely on meaningful environmental restoration, informed and supported by science, to support a strong and healthy economy now, and for generations to come. 

"We look forward to working with the Council to successfully restore the Gulf of Mexico and continuing to develop a comprehensive plan." 

In addition to development of a comprehensive plan to restore the Gulf environment, the Council directly oversees expenditure of 30 percent of RESTORE Act funds for the ecological restoration projects specified in that comprehensive plan. The Council's four Gulf Coast restoration goals include: restore and conserve habitat, restore water quality, replenish and protect living coastal and marine resources, and enhance community resilience. This "Path Forward" is the beginning of a process that will culminate in a plan scheduled to be completed and released in July 2013. 

Contacts:
Elizabeth Skree, Environmental Defense Fund, 202.553.2543, eskree@edf.org
David Ringer, National Audubon Society, 212.979.3062, dringer@audubon.org
Lacey McCormick, National Wildlife Federation, 512.203.3016, mccormick@nwf.org
Heather Layman, The Nature Conservancy, 703.841.3929, hlayman@tnc.org
Shelley Sparks, Ocean Conservancy, 504.616.9150, ssparks@oceanconservancy.org  

SOURCE Environmental Defense Fund

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