May 27 2010

Shelby Includes Resources for Gulf Coast in Supplemental

U.S. Senator Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), ranking member of the Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Appropriations Subcommittee, successfully included his amendment to the fiscal year 2010 Emergency Supplemental Appropriations bill to provide assistance to Gulf Coast fishermen harmed by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

“We need to begin putting resources in the Gulf to help mitigate the long term effects of what could be the largest and most devastating oil spill in American history,” said Shelby. “The federal government must provide immediate federal resources to the Gulf Coast to alleviate and recover from the devastating impacts from the oil spill to the Gulf’s fisheries,” said Shelby.  “While I hoped the Administration would realize that a federal disaster declaration means little without adequate funding, they did not.  My amendment will begin to allocate the resources the Gulf Coast region needs to mitigate the disastrous effects of the oil spill.”

On May 18, 2010, Shelby wrote a letter to U.S. Commerce Secretary, Gary Locke, to request a fisheries disaster declaration, as is required under current law. 

Upon such a declaration, Congress must appropriate funds for the affected communities.  On May 24th, Locke issued an official declaration.  The amendment Shelby included today seeks to provide funding pursuant to the disaster declaration.

The amendment:

• Provides $15 million for the fisheries disaster declaration in the Gulf.

• Provides $10 million for an expanded stock assessment of the Gulf fisheries - including, but not limited to, commercial and recreational catch and biological sampling, observer programs, data management and processing, conducting assessments, and follow-up evaluations.

• Provides $1 million for the Secretary of Commerce to require a National Academy of Sciences study on the long-term ecosystem service impacts of the spill on the Gulf.  In particular, it would assess long-term costs to water filtration, hunting, fishing (commercial and recreational), and other economic values associated with the Gulf.