How should Restore Act money be spent?

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - Beth Jowers enjoys her early morning beach walk. Looking out over the beauty of the water, she wants Restore Act money to keep it that way.

"I'd like to see the beachfront maintained really well. I'd like flowers, trees, anything that has to do with restoring the fishing. I would like that to be done," Jowers said. "Just make everything look very pretty and tourism worthy."

Willie Eichelberger tried his luck at reeling at a big one. Where does he think the money should go?

"Give it back to the community that lost. A lot of people lost a lot of it on this," Eichelberger said. "Especially shrimpers, shrimpers lost, fishermen lost. Whoever does fishing for a living. I just do it for enjoyment and to put dinner on my table."

John Higgins works at the Ocean Springs Marine Mart. Even though the state will get the money, he said, it should stay right here on the coast.

"They should put local access on all these islands, more piers and more stuff for the public so they can utilize what we got," Higgins explained. "Not send the money up to Jackson or somewhere where they didn't lose anything. Everybody down here lost their money, you know, jobs, livelihoods."

In my travels along the waterfront Monday, I talked with many people who said the Restore Act should do exactly what the name implies. Restore public access, fishing, and the Gulf itself.

Darryl Thibodeaux is a fishing enthusiast.

"I think they need to study it some more. The way they talk it's going to be a long term effect with the dispersants that were used. We don't really know what kind of effect that's going to have in the long term," Thibodeaux said.

And the effect of Restore Act money could help a long term recovery as well.

It will be several months before any of the Gulf states sees Restore Act money. The federal government and BP are in negotiations right to determine how large any fine will be. Then that figure will have to be approved by the federal courts.

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