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Apr 19, 2011 11:47 PM by Shawn Kline

New bill to force BP's help with coastal restoration

Senator David Vitter and Representative Jeff Landry are proposing legislation that would force BP to start paying-up for coastal restoration efforts.
State officials say the Natural Resources Restoration Act would speed up the recovery process by almost a decade.

Almost one year ago, the scene along the gulf shorelines looked grim; tarballs on nearly every beach and marsh. Experts now say the oil is isolated to certain areas; in the marshes, on the ocean floor, and the clean-up bill keeps growing.

"This is not going to be something we're going to get through in a year or maybe even two years," Louisiana's Secretary of Natural Resources, Scott Angelle said.

Angelle says the current law, which fines BP for its oil spill doesn't exactly support coastal restoration.

"Those fines that are paid by the offenders go into the general treasury." Angelle explains, "to be used as (the government) wishes- like tax money."

"We introduced some legislation." US House Representative Jeff Landry says, "to get BP to the plate."

Representative Jeff Landry introduced a house bill Monday to go alongside Senator David Vitter's Natural Resources Restoration Act of 2011.
The bill would require a down-payment process to fund resources affected by the spill.

"Getting money up front for our coastal resources, our fishing needs," Landry explained.

"BP has got a ways to go before they will be able to say, 'today we are doing what we said we would do yesterday,'" Angelle said of the oil giant.

The bill would leave BP with a choice: pay at least 30-percent of the billions in damages now or negotiate. Landry says, leaving no room for more delays.



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