Action Alert: National Endowment for the Oceans

*UPDATE: Senator Whitehouse (D – RI) was able to substitute text in another bill, S. 1400, the RESTORE Act, so that funding would be readily available for the National Endowment for the Oceans!

About S. 1400: The Resources and Ecosystems Sustainability, Tourist Opportunities, and Revived Economies of the Gulf Coast States Act (RESTORE) was proposed by Senator Landrieu (D – LA).As part of an effort to revive the Gulf Coast states after the devastating effects of the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill, S. 1400 establishes a Trust Fund, comprised of funds from those who were penalized for the explosion and sinking of Deepwater Horizon.The money invested in the Trust Fund gains interest (at least 5% per year).If S. 1400 is enacted, 50% of this Trust Fund’s money will go directly to the National Endowment for the Oceans.This is a way to ensure that taxpayers are not increasing the amount of money they pay to the government.The RESTORE Act Trust Fund is yet another way of providing money to support the National Endowment for the Oceans.S. 1400, including the amendment in the nature of a substitute (the added part to give money to the NEO) has just passed the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, and is awaiting a vote on the Senate floor.

So continue to support S. 973, and while you’re at it, ask your Senators to support S. 1400 as well, so that S. 973 can acquire funds and help save our oceans.

Introduction

Our oceans are becoming too acidic; debris and runoff contaminates our waters; species are becoming endangered; our water systems are in need of help.

Luckily, Congress has developed a plan to begin to address these issues, bearing in mind the current financial strain on the American people.

A bipartisan group of Senators is working to establish an endowment for the oceans and Great Lakes through the passage of S.973, or the "National Endowment for the Oceans Act."  The Endowment will receive its money from other, pre-existing funds and laws which already collect revenue from marine activities (this revenue currently goes into a generic Treasury fund).  The Endowment will also create a council which will bestow grants to researchers looking to conserve the oceans and Great Lakes, with a five-year research period per grant.  This ensures both short-term and long-term progress towards marine and lake protection and preservation.

Tell your senators to support S.973 to help protect our oceans and Great Lakes, for us and for future generations. Feel free to use our petition, write your own, or click here to become a co-sponsor (no money involved) and sign a petition on Senator Whitehouse’s website. (For more information on this bill, check out our blog entry!)

Letter

Dear Senator  [First Name] [Last Name],

The major bodies of water in and around our country are suffering.  Our Great Lakes provide 84% of our fresh water intake, and our nation’s oceans, coasts, and Great Lakes provide immeasurable economic, environmental, and recreational benefits.  More than half of our 50 states are considered “coastal”, and depend on these waters for strong economies, recreation, and sustainability.

Passage of S.973, the National Endowment for the Oceans Act, would help our entire country sustain our economy, maintain a precious life source, and provide aid to those invested in the research and protection of our oceans and Great Lakes.  Since the money comes from pre-existing laws and funds, such as the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund, the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act, the Clean Water Act, the Ocean Dumping Act, and more, there is no extra cost to American taxpayers, which, in these hard financial times, is important.

[Please insert your comments here with examples particular to your state.]

Please support S.973.  I would like to see this bipartisan bill become a law, so that our oceans and Great Lakes are protected for the invaluable social, ecological, and economic resources they provide.

Sincerely,