HAWAII'S CORAL REEFS
U.S. Senate passes coral reef protection measure
WASHINGTON » A measure to reauthorize the Coral Reef Conservation Act through 2012 and increase funding for coral reef conservation passed the U.S. Senate on a unanimous vote.
The bill, introduced by U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, also amends the 2000 law with a new community-based planning grant program to help areas develop coral protection schemes that are rooted in local tradition and culture.
Sens. Daniel Akaka, D-Hawaii, and John Sununu, R-N.H., are co-sponsors of the bill, which was voted on earlier this month.
Local communities would also have to come up with less money to attract federal dollars for coral programs under the measure, which would reduce the matching funds requirement to 25 percent from 50 percent.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration would be authorized under the legislation to lead emergency response efforts to prevent or address damage to coral reefs, such as from ships that have run aground.