Posted by Jack Sterne, firstname.lastname@example.org
As I talked about earlier, last November millions of voters changed the face of Congress, and conservationists made headlines for playing significant roles in the elections.
We’re now starting to see some of the fruits of those efforts in the ocean arena
For instance, this week alone, lawmakers in both the House and Senate are set to vote on several ocean bills including:
– HR 1205 (Rep. Faleomavaega): Would reauthorize The Coral Reef Conservation Act of 2000 and create a coral reef task force and expand the coral reef conservation program. The bill would improve research, restoration, and assessment of the conditions of coral reefs, and contribute to an improved understanding of the threats to healthy coral ecosystems.
– HR 2400 (Rep. Bordallo): The Ocean and Coastal Mapping Integration Act, would establish a Federal ocean and coastal mapping plan for U.S. ocean and coastal waters to improve ecosystem conservation and management.
– HR 1834 (Rep. Saxton): The National Ocean Exploration Program Act would establish a national ocean exploration program that would fund scientific voyages to research important undersea archaeological sites, research deep water marine systems and enhance the technical capability of the marine science community to perform oceanographic research.
– S 950 (Sen. Snowe): Would authorize $600 million over the next four years for the Integrated Ocean Observing System to collect environmental data in U.S. coastal waters and the Great Lakes to improve warnings for disasters likes tsunamis and hurricanes and to improve coastal and marine resource management.
Also on the legislative menu in the Senate is a hearing on water quality legislation from Rep. Frank Pallone (D-NJ) and Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) entitled the Beach Protection Act of 2007 (HR 2537).
These bills are all good for the oceans and our Senators and Representatives need to hear from us. So while it may sound trite, contact them and let them know how you feel. They actually do keep track of this kind of stuff.
While all of these are relatively minor bills, what’s important is that a year ago these bills never would have seen the light of day. The shift we have seen is really quite remarkable.
And if you think that small stuff is all we’re going to get, there is bigger stuff on the horizon, so stay tuned ….