In July of 2009, the Coral Reef Alliance led a coalition of forty-four marine conservation and stakeholder groups and more than one hundred marine scientists to ask the U.S. Congress to pass important coral reef legislation.
The House responded, and passed corals legislation on Aug 23, 2009. Action is now vital for its partner legislation in the Senate.
The Coral Reef Conservation Act Re-authorization and Enhancement Amendments of 2009 (S.2859) was introduced by Senator Daniel Inouye [HI] on Dec 9, 2009, and now has five cosponsors: John Kerry (MA), George LeMieux (FL), Bill Nelson (FL), John Rockefeller (WV), and Olympia Snowe (ME).
Tom Vilsack, Secretary of Agriculture
Ken Salazar, Secretary of the Interior,
Lisa Jackson, administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency
Carol Browner, White House energy and environmental policy tsar
Nancy Sutley, White House council on environmental quality
We The Undersigned are writing to ask you to support and cosponsor a critical piece of legislation: the Coral Reef Conservation Act Reauthorization and Enhancement Amendments of 2009 (S.2859). Passage of this bill is extremely important for the future of coral reefs-one of the most important and endangered ecosystems in the world-and the bill needs your support to become a priority in the 111th Congress (2009-2011)
Coral reefs are in decline around the world, and those in the United States are no exception. A recent report found that the overall live coral cover for reefs in the Florida Keys has diminished by 50 to 80 percent in the past ten years. Yet coral reefs are the foundation of the tourism industry in the Florida Keys, supporting a $2 billion tourism economy.
Beyond bringing in tourism dollars, coral reefs provide habitat for a quarter of all marine species, and are essential for maintaining important fisheries and protecting coastlines from storm surges. They are also one of the best potential sources of new life-saving pharmaceuticals-more than half of all cancer drug research is now focusing on marine organisms, many of which live only on coral reefs.
Reauthorizing and amending the Coral Reef Conservation Act would enact critical measures to preserve these threatened habitats, including increasing the status of protection for corals in all U.S. waters, supporting community-based approaches to coral reef stewardship, and strengthening U.S. international coral reef conservation efforts. Please cosponsor this legislation and make its passage a priority in the 111th Congress (2009-2011) We Thank You For Your Assistance.