Audubon Society: Senate Transportation Bill Contains Powerful Conservation and Oil Spill Recovery Provisions

Statement of Audubon President and CEO David Yarnold 

Brown Pelican

Rebecca Field

Washington, D.C.–(ENEWSPF)–March 15, 2012.  The U.S. Senate’s $109 billion surface transportation funding bill passed yesterday by an overwhelming bipartisan margin of 74-22. The bill includes provisions to support both Gulf of Mexico restoration and American land preservation, which were added as a two-part amendment last week by a similarly overwhelming margin of 76-22.

“Yesterday, the Senate made a down payment to generations to come by passing the most significant conservation measure in more than a decade. This is a commitment to fix nature’s infrastructure along with roads, rails and tunnels,” said Audubon President and CEO David Yarnold. “It says we’ll pay for what we broke because we owe it to our grandkids and their grandkids. Let’s celebrate this moment of hope and healing. BP’s penalties will help restore the Gulf Coast under provisions of the RESTORE Act. And Land and Water Conservation Fund dollars will help us live up to our responsibility to be good stewards of our abundant natural resources.”

Yarnold concluded, “Now that the House and the Senate have both expressed overwhelming support for RESTORE Act principles, it’s time to get a final bill to the president’s desk.”

The RESTORE/LWCF amendment does the following:

• Specifically directs 80 percent of Clean Water Act civil penalties resulting from the oil spill to restoration of the Gulf Coast environment and local economies. This could mean as much as $10-20 billion.

• Distributes resources fairly and equitably to the affected Gulf Coast states, allowing them to launch immediate recovery efforts. 

• Ensures that the funds are spent responsibly and for their intended purposes.

• Establishes the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council which will develop and fund a comprehensive plan for the ecological recovery and resiliency of the Gulf Coast.

• Provides $1.4 billion over the next two years for the Land and Water Conservation Fund for acquiring and protecting precious lands across America.

Yarnold’s op-eds on this issue: and


Now in its second century, Audubon connects people with birds, nature and the environment that supports us all. Our national network of community-based nature centers, chapters, scientific, education, and advocacy programs engages millions of people from all walks of life in conservation action to protect and restore the natural world. Visit Audubon online at