Representative Steve Southerland, II joined a coalition of seven Gulf Coast lawmakers today in urging the Department of Justice to adhere to the RESTORE Act's payment structure for BP fines collected as a result of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. The letter, addressed to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, comes amid recent news reports that DOJ may be negotiating a settlement that funnels penalties away from the Clean Water Act while reducing the authority of the disproportionately-affected counties to spend the fine money as they see fit to rebuild their coastal economies.
"The RESTORE Act is the result of a collaborative effort that included the communities hardest hit by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill," Southerland said. "To withhold justice from the people who live along the Gulf Coast and endured the economic nightmare of this disaster would be a blatant violation of the role of government. I believe that fine monies should be processed through the Clean Water Act as was approved by Congress and signed into law by the President."
Southerland was joined by Sens. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) and Roger Wicker (R-MS), and Reps. Jeff Miller (R-FL), Jo Bonner (R-AL), Steven Palazzo (R-MS), and Pete Olson (R-TX) in authoring the letter.