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Middle East Message to Gulf Coast: Oil Doesn’t Cure all

February 18, 2011

AUSTIN, Texas - Two groups have put forward a plan to rehabilitate America's Gulf Coast that features a restoration of the ecosystem and a call for a more diverse economy that's less dependent on oil and gas.

The plan by Oxfam America and the Center for American Progress (CAP) pushes for some of the billions in fines paid by BP in the wake of last year's oil spill to be used to diversify the Gulf region's economy to make it less vulnerable to swings in the oil business and natural disasters.

Kate Gordon, CAP's vice president for energy policy, says recent events in the Middle East make it clear that oil is not an economic cure-all.

"We really think that there's an argument to be made that, if you look at these world events, they underscore the volatility of this industry."

Gordon says the dramas being played out now in other oil-producing regions of the world should serve as a lesson as the Gulf Coast implements plans for the post-spill economy.

"We as a country need to be thinking about this critical region and these resources in a much smarter way. We really need to be thinking about diversification as well as just restoration."

Gordon says recovery can diversify the Gulf economy while promoting innovation, creating jobs and protecting communities.

Glen Gardner, Public News Service - TX