RESTORE Council will meet next week

The Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council (the RESTORE Council) has announced that it will hold its first public meeting on December 11, 2012 in Mobile, Alabama.This is the first opportunity to formally engage with the Council that will direct billions of dollars from BP’s fines and penalties to restoration of the Gulf!Every Gulf Coast resident has a stake in this process, and when you come out next you can voice your support for effective environmental restoration and let the Council members know you’ll be paying attention.Unfortunately, as I think we’re all aware, recovery dollars don’t always get spent as intended. GRN will be watchdogging this process to ensure the funds don’t fall victim to the pork-barrel politics of the past. Of course, the best way to ensure effective expenditure of funds is to have an active and engaged public watching the process. Together, we can help the Council make the right decisions for Gulf restoration.The Council, which was established by the Resources and Ecosystem Sustainability, Tourism, Opportunities Revived Economies of the Gulf Coast States Act of 2012 (RESTORE Act), will develop and oversee implementation of a comprehensive plan to help restore the ecosystem and economy of the Gulf Coast region in the wake of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.You can register for the meeting here:;oseqBelow are some suggested talking points you can use at the meeting. Please email me,, if you’re planning to attend the meeting and I’ll know to look for you there.RESTORE Act funds constitute a unique opportunity to the Gulf States and our nation to create a once-in-a-lifetime legacy for conservation, and this our best chance to meaningfully kickstart restoration of long-suffering natural resources in the Gulf region. It is incumbent upon you, the members of the Gulf Ecosystem Restoration Council, to direct the significant RESTORE Act dollars to projects that restore the Gulf environment.Restoring the environment with RESTORE Act funds will help our economy.Projects that address coastal habitat restoration, improve water quality, increase coastal resiliency and restore fishery habitat will help drive the coastal economy by promoting tourism; the hospitality industry; and recreational, charter and commercial fishing businesses.Environmental projects will also decrease economic losses from flooding and disasters by increasing resiliency of coastal communities.Studies have found that each $1 million in investment in wetland restoration can create between 29 to 39 jobs.RESTORE projects must do no environmental harm, and any proposals that aim to bolster the economy while damaging the environment are absolutely unacceptable.Project selection must be scientifically-driven, competitive, and transparent in order to ensure that projects with maximum environmental benefit receive funding.Efforts that focus on ecosystem restoration have greater positive synergistic outcomes (economic, social, cultural, resiliency) than those that don’t, so environmental restoration criteria must be prioritized.A well-informed and engaged public is the best means to ensure that there is a spirited and democratic public debate about which projects get funded with RA funds to ensure that – to the maximum extent possible – they promote long term sustainability for both the ecology of the Gulf of Mexico and the economy of Gulf Coast communities.The Gulf Ecosystem Restoration Council has the ability to build a solid foundation for decades of positive social, economic, and environmental outcomes by setting a strong precedent for managing large-scale restoration.Successfully beginning to address long-standing ecological restoration and community resiliency needs now will help motivate Congress to provide more funding for Gulf projects in the future.The culture of the Gulf – from our food to the fishing and hunting, the economy of the Gulf – from tourism to busy ports, and the people of the Gulf all rely first and foremost on healthy natural resources. Please take advantage of the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to truly restore the Gulf environment.To download a printable version of these talking points click hereSign up to receive email updates on stories like this one. CLICK HEREMichelle Erenberg is the coordinator of Gulf Future, a gulf-wide collaborative effort to hold BP accountable. For more information visit

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