President Barack Obama this week issued an executive order establishing a task force to help accelerate Gulf Coast recovery. Task force members are expected to be drawn from cabinet departments, the affected states and other agencies.
Here is the executive order:
ESTABLISHING THE GULF COAST ECOSYSTEM RESTORATION TASK FORCE
By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, it is hereby ordered as follows:
Section 1. Purpose. The Gulf Coast is a national treasure. Its natural resources are an important economic engine for the entire United States; its waters sustain a diverse and vibrant ecosystem; and the Gulf’s culture, natural beauty, and historic significance are unique. Each year, millions of tourists visit the Gulf to vacation, swim, boat, fish, hunt, and bird-watch; and, together, the Gulf’s tourism and commercial and recreational fishing industries make a significant contribution to the United States economy. More than 90 percent of the Nation’s offshore oil and gas is produced in the Gulf, and it is where nearly one-third of seafood production in the continental United States is harvested.
The United States needs a vibrant Gulf Coast, and the Federal Government is committed to helping Gulf Coast residents conserve and restore resilient and healthy ecosystems in the Gulf of Mexico and surrounding regions that support the diverse economies, communities, and cultures of the region. To effectively address the damage caused by the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill, address the longstanding ecological decline, and begin moving toward a more resilient Gulf Coast ecosystem, ecosystem restoration is needed. Ecosystem restoration will support economic vitality, enhance human health and safety, protect infrastructure, enable communities to better withstand impact from storms and climate change, sustain safe seafood and clean water, provide recreational and cultural opportunities, protect and preserve sites that are of historical and cultural significance, and contribute to the overall resilience of our coastal communities and Nation.