Hastings’ Statement on Passage of H.R.729

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Washington, D.C., December 11, 2019 | comments

Congressman Alcee L. Hastings (D-FL) released the following statement on the passage of H.R.729, the Coastal and Great Lakes Communities Enhancement Act, a package of ten bipartisan bills reported out of the House Natural Resources Committee which aims to protect vulnerable coastal and Great Lakes communities impacted by the climate crisis. H.R.729 included several amendments Hastings offered to ensure the inclusion of projects to address the immediate and long-term degradation or loss of coral and coral reefs and to address harmful algal blooms. (Please find attached a copy of Hastings Amendment #30, Hastings Amendment #31, and Crist/Rooney/Bonamici/Kaptur/Hastings Amendment #4)

“As a Representative of the State of Florida, which has almost 8,500 miles of coastline, I am proud to have voted in favor of H.R.729. This bipartisan legislative package is the start of a comprehensive effort to make our vulnerable coastal communities and economies responsive and resilient to the devastating effects of climate change. As we stand on the precipice of irreparable damage to our ecosystems, it is incumbent on us to respond aggressively and immediately to the threats of climate change.

“As one of our coastal safeguards of biodiversity and against severe oceanic events, coral reefs are currently under severe stress due to numerous threats such as pollution and warming waters. We must empower stakeholders to work to understand and combat the causes of the degradation and loss of coral. These habitats provide a site for biodiversity to flourish and an opportunity for communities to be directly involved in restoration and conservation projects that will bolster economic activity. My amendments ensure a clear message of Congressional intent to encourage partnerships to respond to the deterioration of coral reefs along our coasts. Additionally, I was pleased to join my colleagues, Representatives Charlie Crist (D-FL), Francis Rooney (R-FL), Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR), and Marcy Kaptur (D-OH) in offering Amendment #4 relating to the prevention of and response to algal blooms. These blooms are harmful to humans, wildlife, and impact South Florida’s economy, as multiple sectors rely on a healthy natural environment to flourish.

“Thousands of jobs and livelihoods are supported in Florida by tourism, fishing, and other aspects of the coastal economy. In Florida alone, coral reefs support 70,000 jobs and create six billion dollars every year in local sales. Passage of this bill is a critical step in combatting climate change, and protecting the environment and economies of coastal communities in Florida and across our nation for generations to come.”

BACKGROUND:

Hastings Amendment #30 expands the list of eligible activities for the award of Coastal Climate Change Adaptation Project Implementation Grants to include projects to address the immediate and long-term degradation or loss of coral and coral reefs.

Hastings Amendment #31 includes coral reefs as eligible under the National Fish Habitat Conservation Through Partnerships program.

Crist/Rooney/Bonamici/Kaptur/Hastings Amendment #4 clarifies that Section 323, the Climate Change Adaptation Preparedness and Response Program, includes projects to address harmful algal blooms.

Congressman Alcee L. Hastings serves as Vice-Chairman of the House Rules Committee, Chairman of the U.S. Helsinki Commission, and Co-Chairman of the Florida Delegation.

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