Salazar Praised for Pledging Gulf Restoration Plan to Leave It in 'Better Shape' than Before Spill

Jun 08, 2010, 17:09 ET from Environmental Defense Fund

Coastal Restoration Group Notes President Obama Made Similar Pledge Yesterday

WASHINGTON, June 8 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Environmental Defense Fund praised Interior Secretary Ken Salazar today for vowing that a restoration plan will leave the Gulf of Mexico in "even better shape" than before the massive BP oil spill. He noted that areas had already been decimated by inattention over a long period of time, including by disappearing marshlands and the channeling of the Mississippi River, according to Greenwire.

Salazar's comments come one day after President Obama made a similar pledge that: "...we want to actually use this as an opportunity to reexamine and work with states and local communities to restore the coast in ways that actually enhance the livelihoods and the quality of life for people in that area."

"EDF is extremely pleased to see these back-to-back statements by President Obama and Secretary Salazar recognizing that coastal restoration is an integral part of the recovery agenda in the Gulf of Mexico," said David Yarnold, executive director of Environmental Defense Fund, who just returned from an aerial and boat tour of oil-soaked waters in coastal Louisiana. "Coastal restoration doesn't mean just cleaning up the oil. It means restoring barrier islands and land bridges. It also means recreating the thousands of acres of wetlands that have been lost due to river management and oil and gas canals over the last century."

The Mississippi River Delta wetlands — which serve as a natural hurricane barrier as well as home to America's most productive shrimp and oyster fisheries and hundreds of species of wildlife — have lost more land area since 1930, 2,300 square miles, than the size of the state of Delaware.

"Restoring these vital landscape features is critical to an ecologically healthy and sustainable coastal Louisiana," concluded Yarnold. "There is much for Congress to do to ensure accelerated implementation of these vital restoration projects, many of which it already has authorized, but now it needs to provide funding. We look forward to working with the Administration, Congress and the state of Louisiana to get this job done as soon as possible."

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Contact: Sean Crowley, 202-572-3331,

SOURCE Environmental Defense Fund