U.S. Rep. Scalise looks to restore coast


At the beginning of the 112th Congress of the United States, Rep. Steve Scalise has already focused on local issues, including rebuilding the coast through the use of BP fines to mitigate the damage done by the company’s Deepwater Horizon disaster in 2010.

“These bills provide essential relief to Louisianans, to our environment, and to our ecosystems,” Scalise said. “It is only proper that the Gulf Coast states that were impacted should receive the lion’s share of the fines BP will have to pay as a result of the Deepwater Horizon disaster.”

Scalise continued, “Coastal restoration is vital to the protection of Gulf ecosystems, environments, and communities and we must restore America’s wetlands that have eroded while re-establishing this barrier to weaken future storms and protect our communities from flooding. The federal government cannot continue to ignore the need to restore America’s wetlands or break through FEMA’s red tape, and I look forward to continuing to lead the charge to restore our coast and reform disaster recovery in the new Congress. ”

He has introduced the Gulf Coast Restoration Act, H.R. 56, which will require at least 80 percent of fines assessed to BP under the Clean Water Act be directed to Gulf States for coastal and ecosystem restoration.

He has also introduced the Disaster Recovery Improvement Act (DRIA), H.R. 57 that will improve FEMA’s response plans and build on lessons learned following Hurricane Katrina by speeding up response times, issuing and implementing regulations to expedite public assistance payments, update the factors used to determine the amount of assistance available for individuals affected by disaster and provide assistance for the rescue, care, shelter and essential needs of individuals with pets and service animals during emergencies.

Scalise also introduced the following bills:

  • H.R. 58, to improve law-abiding citizens’ ability to purchase firearms;
  • H.R. 59, to require Senate confirmation of executive branch appointees, or czars, who hold similar authority and power as cabinet officials but who have not undergone the same confirmation process;
  • H.R. 60, to repeal the burdensome 1099 tax reporting mandate of the new health care law; and
  • H.R. 61, to prohibit federal employees from flying in first class on the government dollar.

All bills were introduced the first day of the new Congressional session.

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Stuart H. Smith is an attorney based in New Orleans fighting major oil companies and other polluters.
Cooper Law Firm

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