News & AnalysisGulf Oil Spill

Panel Draws Ambitious Road Map for Gulf Restoration

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Science  14 Oct 2011:
Vol. 334, Issue 6053, pp. 163-164
DOI: 10.1126/science.334.6053.163

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A presidential task force is calling for dramatically expanding efforts to restore battered Gulf of Mexico ecosystems—and using billions of dollars in fines resulting from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill to pay for them. Some worry that the plan, which includes recommendations for 19 "major actions," isn't specific enough and could create the kind of bureaucratic quagmire that has hobbled other megarestoration projects. Others are concerned that the complex funding formula envisioned by Congress—which would apportion money to the five Gulf Coast states based on factors such as their distance from the doomed Deepwater well—could end up funneling too much money to economic development efforts, such as tourist facilities, that don't address the gulf's underlying ecological problems.