Don't Let Dogma Destroy Our Oceans

Once again oceans are being put at risk by anti-government dogma. Rep. Bill Flores of Waco, Texas (a non-coastal district) has attached a rider to the Water Resources Development Act that would prohibit the U.S. Army Corps Engineers from coordinating with coastal states on any ocean project.

Superstorm Sandy demonstrated the challenges coastal states face in dealing with large storms, degraded coastal infrastructure and the ever-expanding development along our coastline. The increasing number and severity of storms will only make these challenges larger and more difficult to address. We need regional ocean planning and we need all federal agencies -- including the US Army Corps of Engineers – to be fully involved partners in regional ocean planning efforts.

To translate President Obama's National Ocean Policy and the National Endowment for the Oceans (NEO) into on-the-ground actions to benefit the American people, Congress must pass the Water Resources Development Act without the Flores rider. Effective implementation of the National Ocean Policy is critical to enhancing our national security, supporting our coastal economies and the millions of American jobs that depend on them, while improving the health of our ocean resources and supporting local choices.

Please join us in calling on Congress to reject the Flores rider and support the full implementation of the National Ocean Policy.
Dear [Member of Congress]:

I am writing to support a Water Resources Development Act that enables all federal agencies to collaborate in comprehensive ocean-planning efforts. The final WRDA bill needs to be kept clean of the Flores rider and other harmful riders. The bill must also maintain the National Endowment for the Oceans provision in the Senate version.

The Senate version of the Act contains the National Endowment for the Oceans. Bravo, this would establish a beneficial fund for improving coastal management and resilience. The House version contains the harmful Flores rider which would prohibit the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers from coordinating with coastal states to implement any ecosystem-based management or regional ocean planning programs. In addition, there are other harmful riders, including provisions to undercut the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) in both bills.

Once again oceans are being put at risk by anti-government dogma. Rep. Bill Flores of Waco, Texas (a non-coastal district) would have Congress believe his anti-government conspiracy theory instead of honoring the work of regional ocean planning groups. If his rider remains in the Act, States could not coordinate with the Army Corp of Engineers on any ocean project.

As Superstorm Sandy highlighted just a year ago, coastal states face difficult challenges in dealing with large storms, degraded coastal infrastructure and the ever-increasing development along our coastline. The increasing number and severity of storms will only make these challenges larger and more difficult to address. We need regional ocean planning and we need all federal agencies -- including the US Army Corps of Engineers – to be fully involved partners in regional ocean planning efforts.

We need regional ocean planning and we need all federal agencies -- including the US Army Corps of Engineers – to be involved in a comprehensive ocean planning effort.

To translate President Obama's National Policy for the Stewardship of the Ocean, Our Coasts, and the Great Lakes into on-the-ground actions to benefit the American people, Congress must pass the Water Resources Development Act. Effective implementation of the National Ocean Policy is critical to enhancing our national security, supporting our coastal economies and the millions of American jobs that depend on them, while improving the health of our ocean resources and supporting local choices.

[Your comments here]

I urge you to support the full implementation of the National Ocean. Please keep the final WRDA bill clean of the Flores rider and other harmful riders and maintain the NEO provision in the Senate bill.

Sincerely,
[Your name here]
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