Florida NGO WRDA Conferee Letter 12.3.13 | Florida | The United States

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 Florida’s 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.1 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 2012.2 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 2008.3 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,4 these benefits are vital to the local communities and economy of Florida. The WRDA conference will consider two provisions that significantly impact Florida’s 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
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National Ocean Economic Program. 2010. [oceaneconomics.org] VISIT FLORIDA(R) Research. http://www.visitflorida.com/en-us/media/research.html 3 Economics of Fish and Wildlife Recreation Seafood Industry and Boating. Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, Est. July 2011. http://www.myfwc.com/media/1496521/EconomicsOfFishAndWildlife-July2011.pdf 4 State of the U.S. Ocean and Coastal Economies, National Ocean Economics Program, 2009 (available here: http://www.oceaneconomics.org/Download/).

management. To maximize the benefits of a healthy ocean and vibrant economy, we urge you to include the NEO provision and strike the Flores rider from WRDA. Following the recommendations of the bi-partisan U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy appointed by President George W. Bush, NEO (Title XII to S. 601) would authorize grants to state, regional, and tribal entities, as well as nonprofit organizations and academic institutions. The endowment would support efforts to conserve and restore ocean resources as well as develop the baseline science, monitoring, and observation data to facilitate sustainable uses that will create jobs and support coastal economies. To enable this critical work, we urge you to support inclusion of the NEO provision in a final WRDA bill. Conversely, we urge you to strike the Flores rider (Section 146 to H.R. 3080). Section 146 seeks to prohibit the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, a key coastal and ocean management agency, from coordinating with coastal states, other federal agencies, and the public as they engage in smart ocean planning. Banning coordination between the Corps and these entities is misguided, especially in Florida where the Corps works closely with other federal and state agencies like the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the South Florida Water Management District. This rider infringes on the rights of states to continue using ocean planning as a tool in coordination with the Army Corps. Imposing such an arbitrary restriction harms states, the Army Corps, and the ocean and coastal economy. A healthy ocean that supports a strong Florida economy is a non-partisan choice. We urge you to support the National Endowment for the Oceans and oppose the Flores rider in conference. Sincerely, Dan Clark Cry Of The Water Coral Springs, Florida Scott Sheckman Founder Friends of the National Ocean Policy Hallandale, Florida Sandy Ducane Organizing for Action Broward Dania Beach, FL Ed Tichenor Director Palm Beach County Reef Rescue Boynton Beach, FL Drew Martin Conservation Chair Loxahatchee Group, Sierra Club Matt Schwartz Executive Director South Florida Wildlands Association Ft. Lauderdale, FL Tanya Tweeton Volunteer / Organizer Southeast Florida Sierra Marine and Water Quality Team Broward County, Florida Holly Parker Florida Regional Coordinator Surfrider Foundation Kristen Hoss (AKA Tanawha!) Education and Ecological Consultant Tanawha Presents LLC. North Lauderdale, Florida Kristen Hoss Executive Director Youth Environmental Alliance Davie, Florida Dr. Ed Schwerin Political Science Professor Florida Atlantic University Boca Raton/Ft. Lauderdale, FL

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