Gulf Coast Restoration Task Force Gets Under Way

Spurred by the oil spill's impact on the ecosystem, the White House is forming a task force to come up with a strategy to restore the entire damaged gulf coast.

Back in June, when there was no end in sight to the oil gushing from the Deepwater Horizon well, President Barack Obama promised to deal with an even longer-term problem: the deterioration of gulf coast ecosystems. Obama assigned the job to Navy Secretary Ray Mabus.

Today, Obama signed an executive order that creates a task force to coordinate the actions of several federal agencies. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson, a Louisiana native, will be in charge of the task force, which is supposed to report back within 1 year.

The restoration strategy is supposed to set goals and identify needed research. Mabus's plan (pdf) also recommended that Congress dedicate funding for restoration and create a Gulf Coast Recovery Council to manage federal efforts. But that won't happen, at the earliest, until mid-November, when Congress returns for a lame-duck session.