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The legislation, H.R. 738, is entitled the Coral Reef Conservation Act Reauthorization and Enhancement Amendments of 2011 and was introduced in the 111th Congress as H.R. 860.
If enacted, H.R. 738 would strengthen the Coral Reef Conservation Act by acting on changes recommended by the All Islands Coral Reef Initiative Committee. The bill seeks to improve the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) ability to respond to emergency or disaster-related situations and minimize the likelihood of vessel impacts on coral reefs. The legislation would establish community-based planning grants for states and territories to support projects that address emerging threats to corals. The legislation also promotes international cooperation by authorizing NOAA to engage with international partners to protect coral reef ecosystems.
Additionally, H.R. 738 would codify the United States Coral Reef Task Force established in 1998 by President Clinton through Executive Order 13089. The Task Force’s mission is to coordinate the efforts of the United States in promoting conservation and the sustainable use of coral reefs internationally.
“This bill incorporates recommendations made by the All Islands Coral Reef Initiative Committee, modifying and enhancing the Coral Reef Conservation Act,” said Congresswoman Bordallo. “Guam’s coral reefs are the foundation of our fisheries and tourism industries, and they are a key source of research and education at the University of Guam’s Marine Laboratory. This bill strengthens existing law to help protect coral reefs from pollution, climate change, and overharvesting, and it supports programs that focus on long-term action, coral reef education, research, and management. I thank Vangie Lujan and other members of the All Islands Committee for their input and recommendations on this legislation. I will work with my colleagues in Congress to ensure that our valuable coral reefs are protected for future generations.”
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