MILLER AND SOUTHERLAND OFFER LEGISLATION TO PROVIDE ECONOMIC RECOVERY TO THE GULF COAST
Apr 5, 2011 -
Congressmen Jeff Miller (R-FL-01) and Steve Southerland, II (R-FL-02) today introduced legislation that would require a portion of the fines paid by the responsible parties for the Deepwater Horizon oil spill be used for economic development along the affected shores of the Gulf Coast. The Gulf Coast Economic and Tourism Restoration Act, or H.R. 1333, would distribute 40 percent of the BP fines to the local communities and states directly impacted by the oil spill for use in economic restoration and tourism promotion.
“The Gulf Coast continues to feel the economic impacts of the Gulf oil spill, and BP must be held accountable,” Miller said. “Florida businesses are struggling, the real estate market has slowed, and individuals are still looking for work. My bill would ensure the fines paid by BP for their mistake would be returned to our area and promote the economies of the local communities still reeling from last year’s disaster.”
Under the Clean Water Act, BP and the other responsible parties are expected to pay between $5 billion and $21 billion in fines, based on estimates of the flow of oil from the Macondo well. Miller’s and Southerland’s bill would distribute 40 percent of these fines to the five Gulf states affected by the spill and further require each governor to send 75 percent of their allocation to the local communities directly impacted. A key component of the legislation is its focus on the economy, requiring that any funds spent be used specifically for economic development or tourism.
“North and Northwest Florida’s economy is heavily dependent upon Gulf Coast wildlife, fisheries, tourism, and real estate,” Southerland said. “This legislation is a critical step forward in ensuring that coastal families and small businesses receive the support they so desperately need to recover from the Deepwater Horizon spill.”