The White House Gulf Coast Recovery Plan was released today. The plan created by Navy Secretary Ray Mabus's commission urges Congress to:
1) dedicate a large amount of the Clean Water Act penalties to the Gulf Coast; create fund for these monies;
2) establish a Gulf Coast Recovery Council to administer the fund. Include state and federal co-chair. Council would focus on environmental restoration, economy, and public and mental health. Would work w/ NRDA trustee council to ensure coordination. EPA Secretary Lisa Jackson will head this Council.
3) dedicate a smaller percentage of CWA penalties directly to Gulf states so that they can jump start their restoration efforts immediately.
--Encourage a private response effort in tandem w/ federal/state efforts
-- Make changes to Coastal Impact Assistance Program (CIAP). Currently fund has $600M.
-- President will sign Executive Order to create a Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Task Force to ensure a smooth transition from response to recovery efforts. Lisa Jackson will head the Task Force.
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Thanks to Jill Mastrototaro of Sierra Club's New Orleans office for helping to keep us all in the loop.
Phil Compton, Sierra Club FL Regional Office, St. Petersburg