Two Years After BP Oil Spill, RESTORE Act Becomes Law

Two years, two months, and nine days after the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon off the coast of Louisiana, the RESTORE Act is on it’s way to becoming law. Thanks to the hard work of Senators in several Gulf Coast states, the Act was included in the final version of the Highway Bill, and was today passed by both chambers of Congress.

Under the Clean Water Act, BP faces as much as $20 billion in fines for its responsibility in the 2010 oil spill that devastated the Gulf Coast. The RESTORE Act (Resources and Ecosystems Sustainability, Tourist Opportunity and Revived Economics of the Gulf States Act of 2011) mandates that at least 80 percent of fines collected from BP and other parties be sent directly to areas affected by the disaster.

Previous bipartisan surveys showed that an overwhelming 83 percent of voters supported efforts to dedicate the BP oil penalties to restoration of the Mississippi River Delta and Gulf Coast. Shockingly, over 20 senators, all Republicans, voted against a version of the measure in March, saying that it increased taxes and created “a new environmental bureaucracy.”

“Today’s agreement demonstrates the conference committee’s commitment to restoring the Gulf Coast, one of our nation’s most valuable economic and ecological assets,” said Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala. “Communities affected by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill have waited long enough for relief and should not be subject to the whims of future Congresses.”

Once enacted, RESTORE will channel the money to coastal restoration and economic development projects in the region, and has broad support from business interests, environmental groups, the seafood industry and tourism organizations. A new commission in each state, made up of local officials, will decide how the money is spent.

“The Restore act has been an absolute top priority while negotiating a deal on the highway bill,” said Sen. David Vitter, R-La. “This is a huge step toward vital, long-overdue coastal restoration work along the Gulf Coast in Louisiana and our neighboring states. The RESTORE language will go a long way in addressing the impacts of the environmental and economic damage from last year’s oil spill, and we think it’s more than fair to have 80 percent of the fines for this event dedicated for restoration along the Gulf Coast.”

Related Reading:

After Oil Spill, Don’t Shortchange Gulf

Dead And Deformed Sea Creatures In Gulf: BP Spill Suspected

Gulf Coast Residents Still Sick From BP Oil Spill

Image via Thinkstock

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Jane Warren
Jane Warren2 years ago

thnx fo rthis

Robin snackers
Robin snackers3 years ago


Prentise W.
pre,tpse w.3 years ago

This is the second time today I've read about a major corporation facing billions of dollars in fines -- the other one was about a pharmaceutical drug. Where do the billions go? Who profits from this money and what is it used for? Don't the corporations then just add the cost to their customers?

Grace Adams
Grace Adams3 years ago

Ideally, in general we should move more towards taxes to recover "external" costs imposed on innocent bystanders. Taxes to recover "external" costs that impair innocent bystanders health should help cover the costs of Medicaid and Medicare and for Social Security disability pensions. But some of those taxes should also be used to clean up the pollution that impairs health by paying for much of the cost of switching from fossil fuel to sustainable energy.

Miranda Parkinson

nice one but why couldn't 100% be used for restoration?

Christine C.
Christine C.3 years ago


stewart s.
stewart s.3 years ago

Great news, even though it a bit late. Now, we have to keep the Repukes out of power or the new law will be history (repealed). Vote for Obama and Democrats in 2012!!!

Kelly Rogers3 years ago

Better Later than Sooner huh???

Isabel A.
Isabel Araujo3 years ago

Fimally! Good to hear, thank you for the inforrmation.

Teresa Cowley
Teresa Cowley3 years ago

I think the fines should have been much larger, with 100% (not 80%) going to "restoration along the coast".
"A new commission in each state, made up of local officials, will decide how the money is spent"--Oh goody, more bureaucracy, more hands in the till--I can't help but wonder how much of the money will actually be spent on RESTORATION, and how much will line the pockets of "local officials"!