Nature Conservancy Applauds Senate Committee for Approving Gulf Restoration Act
The Nature Conservancy praised the Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee for approving legislation Sept. 21 to restore a healthy and resilient Gulf of Mexico coast. Co-sponsored by senators from every Gulf state, the RESTORE the Gulf Coast States Act (S. 1400) will ensure that fines from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill are dedicated to restoring the communities, environment and economy of the Gulf of Mexico.
The Conservancy applauds the EPW Committee for its bipartisan support of the bill. Sens. Mary Landrieu (D-LA) and Richard Shelby (R-AL) authored the bill, which is co-sponsored by David Vitter (R-LA), Jeff Sessions (R-AL), Thad Cochran (R-MS), Roger Wicker (R-MS), Bill Nelson (D-FL), Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX).
“Restoration is essential to the economic and environmental recovery of the Gulf of Mexico,” said Bob Bendick, The Nature Conservancy’s director of U.S. government relations. “Dedicating the oil spill penalties directly to the affected area will help repair the longstanding environmental damage to the Gulf, create new jobs and, just as importantly, sustain and restore the lands and waters that support local jobs in industries such as tourism and fishing, industries that have long been the mainstay of Gulf communities.”
A bipartisan poll this spring showed that 83 percent of voters nationwide support dedicating the Gulf oil spill penalties to restoring the Mississippi River Delta and Gulf Coast. The poll also showed that the vast majority of voters recognize the Gulf Coast’s impact on the economy of the entire U.S.
“Without this legislation, the fines from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill could be spent anywhere—meaning the people and the communities of the Gulf Coast region who suffered from the spill could get absolutely no assistance from the fines,” said Bendick. “While today's vote is a great step forward, there is still much work to be done to ensure the RESTORE Act becomes law. Too much time has already passed. We must act now to rebuild the Gulf and ensure it continues to support our nation's economy, communities and wildlife.”
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The Nature Conservancy looks forward to working with the Gulf delegation, other members of Congress and the administration to pass a bill that will protect and restore this national treasure for future generations. The Nature Conservancy is a leading conservation organization working around the world to protect ecologically important lands and waters for nature and people. The Conservancy and its more than 1 million members have protected nearly 120 million acres worldwide. Visit The Nature Conservancy on the Web at www.nature.org.
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A Game of Jenga<p>Think of it as a game of Jenga and the planet's climate system as the tower. For generations, we have been slowly removing blocks. But at some point, we will remove a pivotal block, such as the collapse of one of the major global ocean circulation systems, for example the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC), that will cause all or part of the global climate system to fall into a planetary emergency.</p><p>But worse still, it could cause runaway damage: Where the tipping points form a domino-like cascade, where breaching one triggers breaches of others, creating an unstoppable shift to a radically and swiftly changing climate.</p><p>One of the most concerning tipping points is mass methane release. Methane can be found in deep freeze storage within permafrost and at the bottom of the deepest oceans in the form of methane hydrates. But rising sea and air temperatures are beginning to thaw these stores of methane.</p><p>This would release a powerful greenhouse gas into the atmosphere, 30-times more potent than carbon dioxide as a global warming agent. This would drastically increase temperatures and rush us towards the breach of other tipping points.</p><p>This could include the acceleration of ice thaw on all three of the globe's large, land-based ice sheets – Greenland, West Antarctica and the Wilkes Basin in East Antarctica. The potential collapse of the West Antarctic ice sheet is seen as a key tipping point, as its loss could eventually <a href="https://science.sciencemag.org/content/324/5929/901" target="_blank">raise global sea levels by 3.3 meters</a> with important regional variations.</p><p>More than that, we would be on the irreversible path to full land-ice melt, causing sea levels to rise by up to 30 meters, roughly at the rate of two meters per century, or maybe faster. Just look at the raised beaches around the world, at the last high stand of global sea level, at the end of the Pleistocene period around 120,0000 years ago, to see the evidence of such a warm world, which was just 2°C warmer than the present day.</p>
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The Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation has a major effect on the climate. Praetorius (2018)
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