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Faith Leaders Call for RESTORE Act to Repair the Still Suffering Gulf

March 6, 2012, 10:29 am | Posted by Casey Schoeneberger

Nearly two years after the largest oil spill in American history, Gulf Coast residents are still struggling to recover from Deepwater Horizon’s devastating impact on the ecosystem and their livelihoods, which were largely dependent on the now-devastated tourism and fishing industries.

With an eye toward ending the cycle of devastation that has become all too familiar in the Gulf Coast, over 140 faith leaders (including FPL’s own Executive Director, Jennifer Butler) called on Senators Reid and McConnell to pass the RESTORE Act and return a sense of economic self-sufficiency to the people of the Gulf Coast

From the letter:

As faith leaders, almost two years after the largest oil spill in our nation’s history, we continue to lament lost jobs and food security, and the on-going physical and mental health challenges facing so many of our brothers and sisters across America’s Gulf Coast. God’s creation groans from the oil and chemical contaminants that still permeate the beaches, wetlands and waters upon which so many rely for survival. Now more than ever, we need the leadership of the U.S. Congress to ensure that Gulf Coast communities, economies and God’s creation do not undertake this recovery unaided. We are writing in support of the legislation before the U.S. Senate, the RESTORE Act, S. 1400, a bipartisan response which we believe is rooted in the values of peace, economic fairness, and stewardship of creation.

We urge you to do what is best for the Gulf Coast – and for all Americans – by working to guarantee that the oil spill response effort is comprehensive, effective, and just, meeting the needs of those suffering today while laying a foundation for long-term restoration and renewal.

While BP reached a settlement with for some individuals and businesses for economic losses and medical claims last Friday, there is still a need to hold BP responsible for the environmental destruction left in the wake of 4.9 million barrels of oil spilling into the Gulf. Although Clean Water Act fines are expected to total over $21 billion, that money can only be directed for ecosystem restoration if Congress passes the RESTORE Act.

This bill is a unique opportunity to empower state and regional agencies to restore the Gulf’s economy and ecosystem. No matter how much faith communities advocate for justice in the Gulf, without the passage of critical legislation struggling communities will once again be denied justice.

Photo Credit: LA Lassie/Flickr

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