Contact: Aaron Viles, Deputy Director, 504-525-1528 ext. 207, email@example.comGRN Statement on Release of Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council Draft PlanWith the release of this draft plan, the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council has expressed a clear commitment to addressing important goals and accomplishing critical objectives which will ultimately create a healthier Gulf and benefit our coast and our communities. The real question is “when?”Without long overdue regulations from the Treasury Department, hundreds of millions of dollars that could be spent on urgently needed ecosystem restoration is languishing in the Council’s Trust Fund. The members of the Council need to step up and push Treasury to release these rules.The Council can and must exercise their power of oversight to ensure that the individual states don’t squander their share of RESTORE dollars on destructive economic development schemes, fueled by pork-barrel politics. Alabama has already proposed a beachfront boondoggle for their share of NRDA resources, which should be a red flag for the Council moving forward.Part of ensuring a fair and open process is making sure that the public and impacted communities have a concrete say in how RESTORE dollars are being spent. The public meetings announced today are a start, but just not enough. The Council needs to move quickly to follow through on its promise in this draft plan to stand up an independent citizen’s advisory committee.Any portion of this statement may be quoted with attribution to Aaron Viles, Deputy Director, Gulf Restoration Network. For more information, visit www.healthygulf.org or contact Aaron, firstname.lastname@example.org or 504-525-1528 ext. 207.