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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Diverse Coastal Interests Release Recommendations To Sustain Gulf Region In Aftermath Of Oil Spill


American's Wetlands WASHINGTON, D.C., September 22, 2010 --/WORLD-WIRE/-- Representatives of the America’s Energy Coast (AEC) initiative of the America’s WETLAND Foundation (AWF) today released recommendations to Congress and the Administration on sustaining economic and ecological assets of the Gulf region in the wake of the Deepwater Horizon spill.

The group, representing NGOs, the energy industry, and coastal stakeholders in the Gulf region, presented Congressional Members and Obama Administration officials its report - SECURE GULF PROJECT: Sustaining Natural Resources and the Communities of America’s Energy Coast.  The report outlines key findings and recommendations. The following are some examples:
  • Creation of a federal Trust Fund for Gulf Coast Restoration, seeded with penalties paid by BP and shared among all five Gulf Coast states impacted by the spill.
  • Accelerate OCS oil and gas revenue sharing with the four Gulf Coast offshore producing states and begin with sharing portion of funds from March 2011 lease sale for Gulf Coast restoration.
  • Gulf oil and gas operations suspended after the Deepwater Horizon incident should be evaluated, with new procedures and requirements clarified and implemented with a sense of urgency, to offset impacts to the region’s economy and to ensure continued operational capacity.
  • The region is positioned to lead the nation in new energy technologies and practices through enhanced natural gas production and innovative use and re-use of carbon.  Policy initiatives should create new market mechanisms and establish protocols for coastal wetland use in carbon sequestration.
R. King Milling, chair of the America’s WETLAND Foundation, said, “Along with the serious impacts this region has incurred due to the Deepwater Horizon spill, are opportunities as well.  Through both economic initiatives and environmental restoration efforts, there is real potential to make this coast more resilient and sustainable.  The report highlights these opportunities and calls for actions to make them reality.”

U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-LA, said the coastal marshes are not just Louisiana’s wetlands. “They are America’s wetlands, and this is America’s working coast. The oil and gas, fishing, shipping, ecotourism, and hospitality industries all share it, and have thrived together for decades.”

“But all of this is at risk if we do not work together on a long-term plan to save our coast. The report released today by the America’s WETLAND Foundation lays out a number of common-sense solutions,” she said.

From across the aisle, U.S. Rep. Michael Burgess, R-TX, also welcomed the recommendations.

“The Gulf Coast region is home to a diverse combination of ecological and economic activity,” said Burgess.  “This report highlights the fact that it is in the best interest of the entire nation that we strive to reach a balance that allows the ecosystems to be sustained, while also fostering the economic advantages the region offers.”

Karen Gautreaux, regional director of governmental relations for The Nature Conservancy, said,  “The coastal areas of this region are in need of immediate and concentrated attention.  The federal trust fund recommended by the AEC can be a powerful step in restoration efforts.”

Warner Williams, Vice President, Chevron Gulf of Mexico Business Unit, said, “It is important to have all views at the table when dealing with challenges facing the Gulf region.  Chevron appreciates the willingness of cooperation and compromise displayed by those participating in the AEC.  This report is a good example of how cooperative discussion can lead to progress in addressing very difficult issues.”

America’s WETLAND Foundation is a non-partisan, non-profit organization that has acted as a neutral arbiter for coastal interests since its inception in 2002, elevating issues facing the Gulf Coast, specifically those of coastal land loss, to regional and national attention. Through its America’s Energy Coast (AEC) initiative, the Foundation has brought together a diverse group of major U.S.- based businesses and industries, national environmental organizations, renowned scientists and researchers, and coastal interests from across the four energy-producing states of Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama.  Download a copy of the Secure Gulf Report on www.americasenergycoast.com

Contacts:
John Hill,
504.756.0101
jh@mcopr.com

Michael Segner,
202.387.8550
ms@mcopr.com