Passage of the Restore Act by Congress brings a big sigh of relief from Louisianans who were hoping most of the oil spill penalties assessed against BP would go proportionately to the five states bordering the Gulf of Mexico. Louisiana, having been the most affected by it, should receive by far the biggest share.
The fines are expected to run from $5 billion to $20 billion. That money can go a long way towards restoration of the coast of Louisiana as well as repairing oil spill damage.
Louisiana’s coast has been diminishing since the federal government built levees along the Mississippi River, which prevented its water from overflowing every spring and depositing life-giving fresh water and silt that built up our coast originally. We have lost hundreds of square miles of land into the Gulf since that time and soon it would have been beyond restoration.
Adding to the good news is the recent adoption of a definite overall plan by the state of just how our coast should be restored. It has been well thought out by experts in the field backed by experience of recent years in developing projects already completed, such as the Davis Pond Diversion in St. Charles Parish.
Included in the overall plan in addition to other diversions is restoration of barrier islands and making better use of spoils from dredging rivers for navigational purposes. In the past, those spoils were dumped into the Gulf and were long gone from any beneficial use in building up our eroding wetlands.
President Barack Obama is in support of the Restore Act and now it should be full speed ahead to rebuild the richest coast in the country.