Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Kathy Castor's Gulf Coast Bill

Rep. Kathy Castor is the sponsor of the Gulf of Mexico Economic and Environmental Restoration Act of 2010. The bill will set up a Council a State to deal with recovery payment. Castor is unhappy with the slowness of the current payment system set up by the Obama administration and BP America. Keith Overton, Vice-President of TradeWinds Resort told Creative Loafing's Mitch Perry that he has had difficulty dealing with BP Kenneth Fineberg, administrator of the BP Disaster Victim Compensation Fund.


“What’s strange is that when you to talk to the Gulf Coast Claims Facility and they say we’re not paying claim s just yet in that region…yet a property adjoining us has been paid $317,000, and we’ve been paid nothing. “ When CL spoke to Overton directly after the news conference, he said he was referring to the Alden Beach Resort Hotel off of Gulf Blvd.

Overton said that in lieu of receiving any compensation, he’s had to make up for the loss of revenue by reducing all his employees paychecks by 6.5 % since the repercussions of the spill began affecting bookings in the spring. There’s also the fact that the “brand in Florida has been significantly damaged,” Overton said, referring to the tourism industry overall.


Every Gulf Coast state will have to submit a restoration plan to the Council a State. Each state will have to clean the local environment, and submit research on how the spill will affect the state environmentally and financially.


(A) IN GENERAL- The Council shall require a State submitting a State comprehensive restoration plan under this section to ensure that the plan addresses the effects in the State of the Gulf oil spill with regards to the economy, the environment, and public health, both physical and mental.

(B) SPECIFIC ELEMENTS- The Council shall require a State submitting a State comprehensive restoration plan under this section to ensure that the plan specifically addresses the following elements:

(i) Environmental restoration and remediation, including in coastal and marine ecosystems.

(ii) Academic and applied research regarding the economy, environment, and public health.

(iii) Seafood marketing.

(iv) Tourism marketing.

(v) Coastal land acquisition.

(vi) Ecosystem resource planning and coastal and marine spatial planning (as that term is defined in Executive Order 13547 (75 Fed. Reg. 43023)).

(vii) Renewable and clean energy production and development, energy conservation, and related retrofitting projects.


Castor's bill will give grants to each state that has green plans. The plans must be approved by the Council.


(1) CLEAN ENERGY PROJECT- The term `clean energy project' means any electricity generation, transmission, storage, heating, cooling, industrial process, or manufacturing project the primary purpose of which is the deployment, development, or production of an energy system or technology that avoids, reduces, or sequesters air pollutants or anthropogenic greenhouse gases, including projects based on the following energy technologies:

(A) Solar.

(B) Wind.

(C) Geothermal.

(D) Biomass.

(E) Hydropower.

(F) Ocean.

(G) Fuel cell.

(H) Advanced battery.

(I) Carbon capture and sequestration.

(J) Next generation biofuels.


Castor believes she can get bipartisan support for this bill. She is even going to attempt to enlist the support of Senator-elect Marco Rubio. I don't share her optimism. I hope I am wrong. This is an outstanding bill. The payment process has been too slow. John Kerry and Joe Scarborough had a fascinating conversation about America missing a financial opportunity by not going green. They are right. Republican global warning denialist will cite the Exxon-backed Institute for Energy Research as scientific fact. Castor's best hope is to past the bill during the lame duck session.

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