When the money does come, it will be largely thanks to a law Congress passed nearly three years ago: the RESTORE (Resources and Ecosystems Sustainability, Tourism Opportunities and Revived Economies) Act.
“It’s just (been) a waiting game” for communities, said Rep. Steven Palazzo, R-Miss., a co-sponsor of the bill, whose district includes coastal communities. “I don’t think they can wait much longer.”
The bipartisan law, approved after months of behind-the-scenes negotiations, requires that states and communities most affected by the oil spill get 80 percent of the civil fine money levied under the Clean Water Act. BP could face fines as high as $13.7 billion.
Gulf Coast lawmakers, local officials and environmentalists cited devastating damage to marine life, the fishing industry and regional tourism in arguing for passage of the RESTORE Act.