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National Restaurant Association - NRA praises Senate vote to direct funds to Gulf Coast restoration

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NRA praises Senate vote to direct funds to Gulf Coast restoration

The National Restaurant Association is urging the House to follow the Senate's lead in passing a bill to ensure that the fines BP pays for damages caused by the company's 2010 Gulf Coast oil spill go to tourism promotion and economic and environmental improvements in states affected by the spill, rather than into general Treasury funds.

The Senate passed the RESTORE Act March 8 by a bipartisan vote of 76-22, as an amendment to a pending highway transportation bill. If the House passes a transportation bill containing the same language, 80 percent of the fines paid by BP would go to the five Gulf states affected by the spill: Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Florida and Texas.

Fines could amount to $5 billion to $20 billion.

"These funds are critical to the long-term health of Gulf Coast communities and businesses looking to fully regain their footing following the BP oil spill," said Scott DeFife, executive vice president of policy and Government affairs for the National Restaurant Association. "Restaurateurs depend on travelers, with some segments of the industry attributing as much as 40 percent of annual sales to visitors. This is especially true of restaurants along the Gulf Coast. On behalf of our Gulf Coast area members and state partners, we thank the Senate for its support and urge the House of Representatives to follow suit."

The bill's sponsors were Senators Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) and Richard Shelby (R-Ala.).

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