March 21, 2016

Bill Would Support Reef Conservation

To help preserve coral reefs, two members of Hawaii’s delegation in Washington, D.C., have introduced a bill they say would jumpstart research related to conservation.

Sen. Mazie Hirono and Rep. Mark Takai, both Democrats, have introduced the Coral Reef Sustainability Through Innovation Act.

The bill is described as a “no-cost bill” that  would encourage 12 federal agencies on the U.S. Coral Reef Task Force — including NOAA, the Coast Guard, and the Department of Defense — to “collaboratively use existing funds across agencies to carry out a competitive prize competition.”

The legislation also allows federal agencies to work with private entities to fund and administer the prize competitions.

“In the past two years, Hawaii’s coral reefs have experienced two serious coral bleaching events, and with rising ocean temperatures, we can expect these events to become more commonplace,” Hirono said in a press release. “There is much to be learned about mitigation and the long term effects of coral bleaching, and this legislation will spur research to better protect this precious natural resource.”

“It is very important we do everything we can to conserve the precious coral reef our state is home to,” said Takai. “Through this legislation, we will promote innovative new ways we can protect our aina and a resource that is vital to Hawaii’s economy.“

Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard is listed as one of the bill’s cosponsors.

By:  Chad Blair
Source: Civil Beat