December 3, 2013 The Honorable Corrine Brown 2111 Rayburn HOB Washington, DC 20515 The Honorable Lois Frankel 1037 Longworth HOB Washington, DC 20515 The Honorable Daniel Webster 1039 Longworth HOB Washington, DC 20515 Dear Congresswoman Brown, Congresswoman Frankel, and Congressman Webster: On behalf of the tens of thousands of Floridians our organizations represent, we urge you to use your leadership position in the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) conference to protect
oceans and coasts by
supporting the National Endowment for the Oceans (NEO) and opposing any effort to undermine the National Ocean Policy.
From energy production to commercial fishing to shipping and transport, our modern American economy and millions of American jobs depend on our oceans and coasts. For example, in 2010, maritime economic activities supported 2.7 million jobs and $258 billion in GDP.
A significant amount of this economic strength relies on healthy ocean resources, particularly for Florida. Florida tourism employed just over one million Floridians and generated $4.3 billion dollars in sales tax revenue in 2012.
In addition, Florida
’s seafood industry employed over 108,000 Floridians
and generated $5.6 billion dollars in sales; while the boating industry alone employed over 200,000 people with an economic impact of $16.8 billion dollars in 2008.
A healthy ocean provides employment, direct economic benefits, recreation, wildlife habitat, cultural identity, and indirect economic services like protection from natural disaster. With nearly 80% of
the state’s employment
in shore-adjacent counties,
these benefits are vital to the local communities and economy of Florida. The WRDA conference will consider two provisions that significantly impact
ocean and coasts and the economies that rely on them. We support the Senate-passed National Endowment for the Oceans (NEO), which would help improve ocean health and maximize the economic benefits to our nation. We oppose the House-passed Flores rider, which would place damaging restrictions on the use of common-sense ocean management tools like smart ocean planning and ecosystem-based
National Ocean Economic Program. 2010. [oceaneconomics.org]