The Washington Times - March 9, 2011, 01:52PM

Two Gulf Coast House members announced Wednesday they have created a bipartisan congressional caucus designed to help address emergencies, legislation and policy affecting the region.

Reps. Kathy Castor, Florida Democrat, and Steve Scalise, Louisiana Republican, said they will work together to find ways to boost the Gulf Coast economy and environment, which were adversely affected by last year’s BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill.


The pair said the new group also will focus on issues including oil-related restoration and recovery, hurricane response efforts, tourism and seafood marketing.

“Small businesses, the tourism industry, the environment and fishermen continue to suffer from the oil disaster,” said Castor, who represents the Tampa area. “Working together with other members of the Gulf Coast Caucus, we will be stronger in finding ways to protect and revive the Gulf.”

Scalise said the BP disaster emphasized the need for Gulf Coast lawmakers to work together to address common problems.

“The Gulf Coast is unlike any other region in the nation and is home to a vibrant culture, unique resources and hardworking Americans,” said Scalise, who represents areas north of New Orleans along Lake Pontchartrain.

Castor and Scalise will serve as co-chairman of the caucus.