News & Resolutions

URGENT ACTION: Amendments to HB 812 for Coastal Restoration

May 30, 2012 2:00 PM
IMPORTANT! Please contact your state senators and tell them to vote NO to amendments to coastal restoration legislation. The Louisiana Senate Finance Committee on Tuesday amended House Bill 812, which is the proposed constitutional amendment by Rep. Simone Champagne to direct Clean Water Act penalty monies from the oil spill to Louisiana's Coastal Protection and Restoration Fund. HB 812, without today's added amendment can be read at the following link:
http://www.legis.state.la.us/billdata/streamdocument.asp?did=803828

The amendment added in Senate Finance today reads as follows:
On page 2, between lines 9 and 10, insert the following:
"The legislature, by a favorable vote of two-thirds of the elected members of each house, may authorize the expenditures of monies received by the state under the provisions of this paragraph for any purposes not prohibited by this constitution or by Congress. Any such authorization shall be approved by passage of a specific legislative instrument which clearly states the purposes for which the monies will be expended."

This amendment CANNOT be allowed to stay in this legislation. It essentially derails the intent of the legislation, which is to ensure that the monies coming to Louisiana through passage of the RESTORE Act or any other settlements or legislation regarding penalties from Clean Water Act violations from the BP oil spill go into the state's Coastal Protection and Restoration Fund to be used specifically for coastal restoration.

This amendment sends absolutely the wrong message to Congress, particularly at a time when the RESTORE Act is being considered and is so close to passage. Louisiana's message to congress needs to be clear and specific that Clean Water Act penalty money will be spent on coastal restoration and on nothing else. In my extensive talks with congressmen and congressional staff regarding RESTORE, the biggest concern about passing such a powerful piece of legislation was mistrust that Louisiana's Legislature would do the right thing with the money.

This amendment, to what is otherwise a very good piece of legislation and a good constitutional amendment, confirms those fears. Some legislators want to get their hands on this money and spend it on whatever whim or budget hole that needs to be filled. WE CANNOT LET THAT HAPPEN!

Please contact your state senator today or tomorrow and tell him or her they cannot in good conscious vote for HB 812 to pass with this amendment. The house version must be the one that goes before voters this fall.

For a list of state senators by district, please click the following link: http://senate.la.gov/senators/CurrentMaps.asp
 
Chris Macaluso
Coastal Outreach Coordinator
Louisiana Wildlife Federation

 
 
 
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