An environmental organization launched a two-day, $30,000 radio ad blitz in Florida Thursday to highlight congressional, editorial and voter support across the political spectrum for a multi-billion dollar Gulf Coast restoration bill funded by BP oil spill fines.
Environmental Defense Action Fund says that it timed the ad buy to Thursday’s GOP presidential candidates debate in Jacksonville, and following primary election in the Sunshine State.
Last week, Reuters reported that BP is likely to agree next month to pay $20 billion to $25 billion to settle all charges around the unprecedented Gulf oil spill — including fines for violating the Clean Water Act (CWA) — before the scheduled start of legal hearings in New Orleans on February 27.
“Florida, the Gulf Coast states, and the nation’s economy are still suffering from the BP oil disaster, so we wanted to highlight this vital issue before the nationally televised presidential debate tonight and the first Gulf state primary on Tuesday,” says Elizabeth Thompson, director of congressional affairs & president of Environmental Defense Action Fund. “All candidates for public office need to know that newspapers and voters in Florida and the Gulf Coast across the political spectrum consider support for this Gulf restoration bill an important litmus test to determine which candidates they will support.”
The bipartisan Gulf restoration bill in the Senate and House — the RESTORE the Gulf Coast States Act (S. 1400/H.R. 3096) — would dedicate the CWA fines for the Gulf oil spill to restoring the Gulf Coast ecosystem and economy.
The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee has approved the RESTORE Act. The bill is cosponsored by nine of the 10 Gulf Coast senators, including Florida Sens. Marco Rubio (R) and Bill Nelson (D). In addition, nine Florida newspapers have endorsed the RESTORE Act, including the Bradenton Herald, Ft. Myers News-Press, Gainesville Sun, Miami Herald, Palm Beach Post (twice), St. Petersburg Times, Tampa Bay Tribune (twice), The [Lakeland] Ledger and The Tallahassee Democrat.
The 60-second ads will air a total of 55 times Thursday and Friday on news-talk radio stations in Jacksonville (WOKV-690AM/106.5FM), Tallahassee (WFLA-100.7FM Tallahassee) and Tampa Bay (WFLA-970AM Tampa).
The ads cite a recent poll that shows more than 70 percent of Florida Republicans, tea party supporters, independents and Democrats are more likely to support candidates who support the RESTORE Act.
Scott Nance is the editor and publisher of the news site The Washington Current. He has covered Congress and the federal government for more than a decade.