Wicker & Cochran applaud senate passing BP spill bill

The Senate approved a highway bill Wednesday that includes a long-sought provision for the Gulf Coast: A guarantee that 80 percent of the fines collected from the April 2010 BP oil spill — an amount that could reach $20 billion — would be distributed for coastal restoration to the five states along the Gulf of Mexico: Mississippi, Louisiana, Florida, Texas and Alabama.

While the bill faces an uncertain outlook in the House of Representatives, Gulf state lawmakers are anxious for Congress to adopt the amendment on the so-called RESTORE Act before a settlement is reached with the Department of Justice and BP.

“I am hopeful that the Senate’s overwhelming support for helping Gulf Coast states address long-term environmental and economic damages will be fairly considered by the House of Representatives,” said Sen. Thad Cochran, R-Miss. “The nation needs an extended highway bill, and Gulf Coast states need assurance that Congress will allow them to have resources to recover from the oil spill.”