News & Resolutions

Major Success for Coastal Restoration in La: RESTORE Act Update

March 14, 2012 3:00 PM

Efforts to restore Louisiana’s vanishing coastal wetlands and barrier islands took a major leap forward March 14 when the U.S. Senate voted to pass a transportation bill containing the RESTORE Act, a piece of legislation that has received broad bi-partisan support and will direct 80 percent of the Clean Water Act penalties from the Gulf oil spill back to the Gulf States for ecosystem and economic restoration efforts.

The Louisiana Wildlife Federation played a lead role in spearheading the effort among sportsmen and conservation groups to get RESTORE passed in the Senate and will continue the fight to get the bill signed into law.

LWF staff and volunteers, through its Sportsmen for the Coast campaign and working with the National Wildlife Federation and Ducks Unlimited through the Vanishing Paradise campaign, have travelled to Washington D.C. five times in the last 18 months to take meetings with Louisiana’s Congressional Delegation as well as congressmen and staff from across the country to push for passage of RESTORE. Also, several meetings were taken with Louisiana Congressmen and staff while in district.

Most recently, LWF Coastal Outreach Coordinator Chris Macaluso was invited along with Capt. Ryan Lambert of Cajun Fishing Adventures in Buras, La. and scientists from Ducks Unlimited to brief nearly 100 congressional staffers in late February about the need to restore Louisiana’s imperiled coastal wetlands and protect coastal communities.

“LWF helped lead the charge to get the RESTORE Act to where it is today and we will continue to push congress and the president to take the additional steps needed to make sure the right thing is done and that the fines from the oil spill come back where they belong and help to restore our vanishing coastal wetlands,” Macaluso said. “Without the efforts of LWF and our partners with Vanishing Paradise and other conservation organizations, this legislation may have fallen short of the votes needed to get where it is today.”

In addition to meeting with elected officials and staff, LWF and the Vanishing Paradise campaign also worked with B.A.S.S., the largest sport-fishing organization in the world, by engaging conservation directors from across the country and asking them to contact their congressmen to push for RESTORE’s passage. Macaluso spoke at media day for the 2011 Bassmaster Classic in New Orleans, the B.A.S.S. Federation Convention last November in Monroe and recently in February at the Bassmaster Classic in Shreveport at the B.A.S.S. Conservation Director’s meeting.

LWF also worked to solicit signed post cards supporting RESTORE from nearly 1300 sportsmen at the Bassmaster Classic tackle expo. The cards were then sent to Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the senate’s minority leader.

Sportsmen have been at the forefront of efforts to conserve and protect our wildlife and fisheries habitats throughout our country’s history and they are coming through again when Louisiana’s coast needs them the most,” Macaluso said. “Though we still have years of tireless work ahead to restore and protect Louisiana’s coast, there is time to briefly pause and recognize the significance of getting the RESTORE Act to where it is today. We are closer to significant coastal restoration work now than we have ever been.”

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For more information, contact Chris Macaluso, LWF's Coastal Outreach Coordinator at chris@lawildlifefed.org.


 


 
 
 
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