We have until Wednesday to tell our leaders that we want true environmental restoration for the Gulf!
At the end of 2013, our state and federal leaders issued a draft plan and list of proposed projects to help guide and implement restoration across the Gulf Coast. This Plan, known as the Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement, sets the stage as we begin to rebuild our coast in the aftermath of the BP drilling disaster.
Right now, state and federal Trustees are taking comments on the Plan, which will dictate how they govern and spend Early Natural Resource Damage Assessment (NRDA) funding - monies earmarked to restore our natural resources. This funding source is a unique opportunity. We must ensure that it's spent appropriately and, more importantly, utilized to restore the natural environment that was damaged by BP’s oil.
Many of us remember the misspending after Hurricane Katrina: money that was meant to go to areas that were impacted by the storm instead being spent on politicians' favorite pork barrel projects. We are at risk of that happening again. Currently, a $58.5 million hotel and conference center in Alabama’s Gulf State Park has been proposed for Early NRDA funding. This project is a terrible waste of restoration dollars.
Transparency and meaningful public participation are vital to ensuring that BP pays for every inch of land, water, and creature soiled by their toxic oil. By adopting a comprehensive and ecosystem-driven Plan, we help restore and preserve a region that is vital to the health of the nation. Write to your NRDA Trustees today.
Steve Murchie is GRN's Campaign Director.