Congressman Steve Scalise today issued the following statement on the one year anniversary of the Deepwater Horizon disaster.
"Today we pause to remember the 11 men who were lost in the explosion, the millions impacted by the spill, and the thousands who dedicated themselves tirelessly to cleanup operations throughout the Gulf region," Scalise said. "On the one year anniversary of the Deepwater Horizon explosion we must not allow the memory of the spill to fade from the minds of the nation, and we must remain focused on improving safety in the Gulf, as well as the need to dedicate the BP fines to our states that are still struggling to recover from the disaster.
"The deepest tragedy of the Deepwater Horizon disaster was the loss of those 11 lives, and Jennifer and I will continue to keep the families of the victims in our thoughts and prayers. We must continue to make improvements to the safety of those working offshore and we must ensure timely responses to any potential spills in the future, and I will continue working to ensure that this disaster does not repeat itself.
"As we remember those who lost their lives, we must also not lose sight of the impact this disaster had on countless people throughout the Gulf region. I will continue fighting for people who have not been made whole, and push for reforms in the recovery process so people whose claims have not been fairly paid can have a prompt appeals process that includes a clear explanation, which is still not in place one year after the disaster. The people of the Gulf Coast deserve to have greater transparency and oversight within the GCCF claims that they were promised.
"The oil spill threatened our culture, our heritage and our entire way of life, and the nation clearly saw the impact the BP oil spill had on the Gulf Coast as well as the national importance of our wetlands and ecosystem. It is only proper that Gulf Coast states receive the lion's share of the fines BP will have to pay as a result of this disaster. I will continue working with my colleagues in the House and Senate as we pursue legislation to secure the BP fines for oil spill recovery and restoration of our coast and ecosystems that were directly impacted by the oil. Our bills provide critical relief to the entire Gulf Coast, to our environment, and to our ecosystems."
Scalise first introduced legislation to dedicate the BP fines to the Gulf Coast for coastal restoration and oil spill recovery in 2010. The Gulf Coast Restoration Act, H.R. 56, was the first bill introduced by Scalise in the new Congress that began in January. It requires that at least 80 percent of the fines assessed to BP under the Clean Water Act be directed to Gulf States for the purpose of coastal and ecosystem restoration.