Mabus Plan for Gulf Recovery released, community leaders respond

Today the Obama Administration released a plan for the long-term recovery of the Gulf Coast in the wake of the BP oil disaster. 

America’s Gulf Coast: A Long Term Recovery Plan After The Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill,” was developed under the guidance of Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus, who visited the Gulf for a series of listening tours over the summer

The plan calls for federal resources up to $21 billion to be invested in restoring coastal ecosystems, and for a council to coordinate restoration efforts, to be led by Administrator Lisa Jackson of the Environmental Protection Agency.

Gulf coast community leaders expressed hope about the plan and the unprecedented investment, but also significant concern that the voices and needs of those who have been hardest hit by the oil disaster would be left out.  They pointed to insufficient citizen participation and insufficient targeting of economic opportunities towards the most vulnerable communities as areas of particular concern.

LaTosha Brown, Executive Director of the Gulf Coast Fund for Community Renewal and Ecological Health and contributor to Bridge the Gulf, said via an Oxfam America Press Release:

“We’re encouraged by Sec. Mabus’ plan to jump-start the recovery through developing partnerships with Gulf Coast communities to address our most pressing challenges. It is critical that community and faith-based nonprofit leaders and local philanthropic organizations, the true social innovators in the face of adversity along the Gulf in recent years, be involved in the decision-making process every step of the way to ensure new federal and private resources can best meet the needs of our coastal communities.”

Read more responses from community leaders here.  And look out on Bridge the Gulf over the next few days for more commentary on the Recovery plan.