We’re at a make or break moment for the Gulf’s restoration in the wake of the BP disaster. The RESTORE Council, which is tasked with overseeing how potentially billions of dollars in Clean Water Act fines from the BP disaster will be spent, has released guidelines for choosing restoration projects. Instead of ensuring public participation and transparency in project selection, these guidelines open the door for backroom deals and pork barrel politics.
Gulf coast residents know all too well what happens when out-of-touch politicians and bureaucrats are allowed to make backroom deals about how restoration dollars are spent. We have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to not just restore the Gulf to what it was before BP’s oil fouled our waters, but to make it more resilient and sustainable for future generations. Let’s not squander this opportunity by reviving the pork barrel politics of the past – send your message to the RESTORE Council now calling for transparency, accountability and public engagement.
With the release of these guidelines for choosing projects, the Council has clearly demonstrated their disregard for the public. Not only did the Council disregard input from Gulf residents in drafting these guidelines, it also left citizens without a real seat at the table in the process for choosing projects – instead leaving it up to the eleven state and federal council members to decide if and how they will involve the public.
As we stand at this crossroads for the future of the Gulf, will the RESTORE Council opt for backroom deals, or sunshine on the Gulf’s restoration? Please take a moment to demand sunshine from the RESTORE Council.
Steve Murchie is GRN's Campaign Director.