Commerce Secretary calls for ocean/coral funding

Roger B Griffis Roger.B.Griffis at
Tue Sep 19 10:14:11 EDT 2000

Press Release, Sept. 16, 2000 (NOAA 00-R419)
U.S. Dept. of Commerce, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
Secretary Mineta Urges Congress to Fund Ocean Programs

 U.S. Secretary of Commerce Norman Y. Mineta today called on the U.S.
Congress to join the  Administration in an historic endeavor to protect
our oceans for future generations. During a visit to the Florida Keys
National Marine Sanctuary, Secretary Mineta urged Congress to fully fund
President Clinton’s request for oceans programs and pass important new
legislation that will enable states and local communities to join the

 “Our coastal regions and ocean resources are under increasing
pressures.  That is why I have made one of my top priorities to support
new efforts to protect and sustain our ocean resources.  My former
colleagues on Capitol Hill can join our effort by fully funding the
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration budget request including
the President’s Lands Legacy Initiative which funds new ocean and costal

 During his sanctuary visit, Secretary Mineta also announced $2.5
million in grants to help save our vulnerable coral reefs from harmful
environmental changes.  He and NOAA Administrator D. James Baker joined
a group of school children participating in the Coral Reef Classroom as
they worked underwater with scientists to repair damaged coral reefs.
The hands-on classroom, sponsored by the National Geographic and NOAA’s
Florida Keys Marine Sanctuary, is part of the Sustainable Seas
Expedition, a groundbreaking partnership between the National Geographic
and NOAA to explore our vast oceans.

 “The rapid decline of the world’s productive and economically vital
coral reefs represents a serious threat to consumers, businesses,
communities and the environment,” said Secretary Mineta.  He stressed
the importance of protecting coral reefs and all of our oceans. “We all
benefit from healthy oceans.  They are the foundation for millions of
jobs, billions of dollars and sustainable coastal communities.  We must
invest in protecting them.”

 Another important piece of the administration’s ocean initiative is the
$3 billion Conservation and Reinvestment Act (CARA) which would provide
funding to state and federal agencies to protect land and water
resources, including coral reefs and oceans.  State, local and federal
partnerships are essential.  “The Senate has failed to pass CARA which
has already been approved by the House.  We need the Senate to pass this
bill now if we are going to save our oceans and the communities which
depend on them.”

 The $2.5 million NOAA grants will go to seven U.S. states and
territories to launch new research and monitoring programs to understand
the causes of reef declines and to track coral reef health.  According
to NOAA Administrator D. James Baker, this is an important step in the
plan to implement the first ever National Action Plan for Coral Reef
Conservation.  Baker said,  “this is just one example of NOAA’s effort
to better explore, protect and sustain vital ocean and coastal habitat.
We need to educate all Americans about the importance of oceans and
inspire them to join us in promoting a new ocean ethic.”

For more information contact:

Connie Barclay
  (301) 775-6425
Roger Griffis
(202) 482-5034

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