Representative Steve Southerland, II hosted a press conference today at St. Andrew's Marina in Panama City to highlight congressional approval of the RESTORE Act, legislation Southerland authored directing BP fine money from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill to the hardest hit coastal counties.
"As an author of the RESTORE Act and the only Gulf Coast House member appointed to the conference committee that steered it through Congress, I am pleased by the strong bipartisan and bicameral support it received," Southerland said. "This is an important step forward for the North and Northwest Florida counties fighting to restore their coastal economies more than two years after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.
"It's simple common sense to expect that local officials will have a better understanding how these funds should be spent in their communities. By cutting through the bureaucratic red tape and empowering county leaders to play a decisive role, I expect this collaborative effort to produce a more efficient and effective economic recovery," Southerland concluded.
Southerland was joined by local officials and business leaders at today's press conference. Speakers included Bill Williams, President of the Florida Association of Counties and Gulf County Commissioner; George Gainer, Chairman of the Bay County Commission; Beth Oltman, President of the Panama City Beach Chamber of Commerce; Al McCambry, Chairman of the Bay County Chamber of Commerce; and Dan Rowe, President of the Bay County Tourist Development Council.