The Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council recently released its initial draft plan for restoring the Gulf Coast and will hold a public meeting about it Monday, June 17, 5:30-9 p.m. The meeting will take place at the Fish & Wildlife Research Institute, located at 100 Eighth Ave., S.E. in St. Petersburg. In addition, formal comments will be accepted through June 24.
"The Gulf of Mexico should be restored better than it was before the BP Deepwater Horizon disaster. This is our once-in-a-lifetime chance to do so," U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor said. "Tampa Bay small businesses, fishing businesses and residents have been very active and vocal about research and restoration of the Gulf. We must ensure this initial plan includes the views from the west coast of Florida to dramatically improve the environmental and economic vitality of the Gulf of Mexico."
Rep. Castor was a staunch champion of ensuring the RESTORE Act that passed last year provided the needed help to small business owners, fishermen, the tourism industry and others impacted by the BP Horizon oil disaster, the worst environmental catastrophe in U.S. history. The Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council was established by the RESTORE Act to develop and implement a comprehensive plan that would protect and revitalize the Gulf Coast region's ecosystem and economy.