BP fines could equal big jobs along the Gulf Coast

by Heather Miller

A study from Duke University outlines 140 businesses in 37 states that could create jobs if hired to do coastal restoration work funded by BP oil spill fines.

The billions in fines BP is expected to be billed for last year's oil spill could have a far-reaching impact on job creation along the Gulf Coast if legislation earmarking 80 percent of the fines to coastal restoration work is passed.

According to The Times-Picayune, the 140 businesses in 37 states that could potentially benefit from the legislation include oil and gas exploration companies that have suffered in the wake of the spill:

The report was released Monday in advance of Wednesday's House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee hearing on legislation that would direct 80 percent of the fines to the five Gulf Coast states, with most of the money, estimated between $5 billion and $20 billion, earmarked for ecosystem restoration work.

The study identified 140 businesses in 37 states, though most are along the Gulf Coast, that would benefit from a major influx of financing for coastal restoration work. Firms that have traditionally assisted with the development of oil and gas exploration could easily transition to do some of the ecosystem work, the study's authors said.

"This report underscores our claim that Louisiana's coastal wetlands are invaluable, support critical national assets and should be restored immediately, and that by investing in our coast we create economic opportunities for the entire country," [U.S. Rep. Steve] Scalise, [R-Jefferson], said.

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