Coral Reef NOAA
 
July 30, 2014  

Reauthorization Archives



112th Congress
111th Congress
110th Congress
109th Congress

112th Congress

2011

Coral Reauthorization Bills Recently Introduced by Senate and House. The 112th Congress has introduced two bills which are the most recent progress in the effort to reauthorize the Coral Reef Conservation Act of 2000 (pdf, 36kb). S.46, the Coral Reef Conservation Amendments Act of 2011 was introduced by Senator Inouye (D-HI) on January 25, 2011. H.R.738, the House's reauthorization bill, was introduced by Congresswoman Bordallo (D-Guam) on February 16, 2011. S.46 is cosponsored by Sen. Kerry (D-MA), Sen. Rockefeller (D-WV), Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL), and Sen. Snowe (R-ME) providing bipartisan support. H.R.738 is cosponsored by fourteen democrats. Both bills would strengthen NOAA's ability to comprehensively address threats to coral reefs and empower the agency with tools to ensure that damage to our coral reef ecosystems is prevented or effectively mitigated. The bills also establish consistent practices for maintaining data, products, and information, and promote the widespread availability and dissemination of that environmental information. Both allow the Secretary of Commerce to further develop partnerships with foreign governments and international organizations as well as with Federal agencies, State and local governments, tribal organizations, educational institutions, nonprofit organizations, commercial organizations, and other public and private entities. These partnerships are critical not only to the understanding of our coral reef ecosystems, but also to their protection and restoration. Finally, both bills allow for any amount received by the United States as a result of illegal activity resulting in the destruction, take, loss, or injury of coral reefs to be used toward restoration efforts.

  • Key Differences between House and Senate version
    • S.46, instead of referencing the National Maritime Safety Association (NMSA) provisions as does the H.R.738, includes specific strengthened language for liability and enforcement provisions that build on the NMSA language incorporating lessons learned and identified gaps. 
    • S.46 establishes a response and restoration account for coral reef injuries within the NOAA Damage Assessment Restoration Revolving Fund. Funds recovered from injury events that occur in areas under NOAA’s jurisdiction will be deposited into this account while funds recovered in areas under the Department of Interior’s jurisdiction will be deposited into their Natural Resources Damage Assessment and Restoration Fund.
    • S.46 does not include authorization for DOI coral reef conservation activities or codification of the US Coral Reef Task Force.

To see the text of either bill, please search them by bill number on THOMAS, the Library of Congress website. Identical versions of a bill must be passed in both the House and Senate and then signed by the President in order to become law.

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111th Congress

2010

Potential for Inclusion of the Coral Reauthorization Bill in Omnibus for Passage. During August and September 2010 there was some activity regarding reauthorization of the Coral Reef Conservation Act of 2000 (CRCA) which is still on the radar screen of both the Senate Commerce, Justice, Science Committee (S.2859 (pdf, 265 kb), passed Committee December, 2009 ) and the House Natural Resources Committee (H.R.860, (pdf, 214 kb)passed by House in September 2009). The three biggest differences of the House bill from the Senate bill are that a) it includes authorization for the Department of Interior, b) codifies the U.S. Coral Reef Task Force, and c) authorizes National Marine Sanctuary Act natural resource damage assessment provisions to apply to coral reefs within the U.S. Exclusive Economic Zone and does not include strengthened comprehensive language for these provisions as does S.2859. It is possible that an omnibus or lands omnibus may be introduced in the Senate and passage attempted before the end of the year. It is also possible that S.2859 could be included in this package of environmental bills. If passed as part of an omnibus, the Senate reauhorization bill would have to come before the House for approval since it is different from the House bill passed previously. If passed by the House it would then be sent to the President for signature. The end of 2010 marks the end of the two year 111th Congress, so if reauthorization does not occur before then, the process starts over in the 112th Congress beginning in January.

2009

Coral Reauthorization Bill Introduced by Senate. S.2859, the Coral Reef Conservation Amendments Act of 2009 (pdf, 265 kb)was introduced by Senator Inouye on December 9, 2009. This bill is the most recent progress in the effort to reauthorize the Coral Reef Conservation Act of 2000 (pdf, 36kb). S.2859 is cosponsored by Sen. Kerry (D-MA), Sen. Rockefeller (D-WV), Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL), and Sen. Snowe (R-ME) providing bipartisan support. The Senate Commerce Committee marked-up S.2859 in full Committee Thursday, December 17 and by voice vote approved the bill without objection or amendments. Now reported out of Committee, S. 2859 is next headed for the Senate floor. This bill would strengthen NOAA's ability to comprehensively address threats to coral reefs and empower the agency with tools to ensure that damage to our coral reef ecosystems is prevented or effectively mitigated. It also establishes consistent practices for maintaining data, products, and information, and promotes the widespread availability and dissemination of that environmental information. The bill allows the Secretary of Commerce to further develop partnerships with foreign governments and international organizations as well as with Federal agencies, State and local governments, tribal organizations, educational institutions, nonprofit organizations, commercial organizations, and other public and private entities. These partnerships are critical not only to the understanding of our coral reef ecosystems, but also to their protection and restoration. Finally, the bill allows for any amount received by the United States as a result of illegal activity resulting in the destruction, take, loss, or injury of coral reefs to be used toward restoration efforts. There are several differences between this and H.R.860, the House's reauthorization bill that was passed in September. To become a law, identical versions of a bill must be passed in both the House and Senate.

Coral Reauthorization Bill Passed by House of Representatives. H.R.860, the Coral Reef Conservation Act Reauthorization and Enhancement Amendments of 2009 (pdf, 214 kb) , was passed by the House of Representatives on September 22, 2009. This passage is the most recent progress in the effort to reauthorize the Coral Reef Conservation Act of 2000 (pdf, 36kb). Representative Bordallo (D-Guam), Rep. Brian Baird (D-WA), and Rep. Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) spoke on behalf of the bill, expressing strong support and a dire need to protect this precious resource. This bill would bolster US coral reef conservation efforts by promoting international cooperation to protect coral reefs, codifying the US Coral Reef Task Force, and allowing the Coral Reef Conservation Fund to be utilized for emergency response actions, among other changes. HR 860 received the support of a bipartisan group of 19 Members of Congress, and has also been endorsed by the Administration; the Governors of Guam, American Samoa, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands; and marine conservation interests.

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110th Congress

2007

House Passes Reauthorization Bill. Efforts to reauthorize the Coral Reef Conservation Act of 2000 (CRCA) are progressing in both the House and Senate. On October 22, 2007, H.R.1205, the House bill to reauthorize the CRCA, was passed on the House floor. The Senate's bill to reauthorize the CRCA, S.1580, was passed by the full Commerce Committee on October 30. Bill S.1580 will now move to the full Senate for consideration. If S.1580 is passed, the Senate and House will conference to agree upon a final bill which will then go back to each chamber for a vote. Both H.R.1205 and S.1580 incorporate some aspects of the Adminstration bill, the Coral Reef Ecosystem Conservation Amendments Act of 2007. To track the latest versions of the House and Senate bills, search on the Library of Congress' legislative Web site, THOMAS. To learn more about the CRECAA, see below.

Administration Releases Proposal for Reauthorization of the Coral Reef Conservation Act. On May 8, 2007, the Department of Commerce delivered proposed legislation to Congress calling for greater protection for the nation's coral reefs. The bill, the Coral Reef Ecosystem Conservation Amendments Act (CRECAA) of 2007, reauthorizes the Coral Reef Conservation Act (CRCA) of 2000 and adds greater protections for coral reefs while enhancing marine debris removal and increasing the government's ability to work through cooperative partnerships. "Our coral reefs continue to be severely threatened and this bill continues the Administration's aggressive commitment to ocean stewardship as called for in the President's Ocean Action Plan," said Commerce Secretary Carlos M. Gutierrez. "It will give us the tools we need not only to protect corals, but also to help restore this valuable resource." See the section below on the CRECAA to learn more. To learn more about the CRECAA, see below.

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109th Congress

2005

Coral Reef Conservation Bill Introduced in the House. After being passed by the Senate on December 15, 2005, the Coral Reef Conservation Amendments Act of 2005 (S. 1390) was passed by the Senate and referred to the House of Representatives' Resources Committee. This bill reauthorizes the Coral Reef Conservation Act of 2000 through FY 2012. Rep. Faleomavaega (D-AS) along with six cosponsors introduced the bill as H.R. 4788 in the Resources Committee on February 16, 2006. The bill was identical to its companion, S. 1390. On February 27, 2006 it was referred to the Subcommittee on Fisheries and Oceans. On June 15th, Chairman of the House Resources Committee, Richard Pombo (R-Calif.), introduced a new version of the legislation (H.R. 5622). The version introduced by Chairman Pombo is similar to S. 1390 and H.R. 4788, but includes additional authorization for the Interior Department and the U.S. Coral Reef Task Force. If passed, it would also authorize matching conservation grants for local governments and create a system for multi-year cooperative agreements between various agencies and organizations on coral reef conservation.

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Coral Reef Ecosystem Conservation Amendments Act (CRECAA) of 2007

The information below is provided as an archive and is not necessarily indicative of the content of legislation proposed by the current Congress. Click here to learn about current reauthorization efforts.

On May 8, 2007, the Department of Commerce delivered proposed legislation to Congress calling for greater protection for the nation's coral reefs. The goals of the Administration proposal were to provide strong protection for all of the nation's shallow-water coral reef ecosystems and to build a wider foundation for the federal government's coral reef conservation activities. The Coral Reef Conservation Act (CRCA) of 2000 provides NOAA with powerful tools to study, manage and protect coral reef ecosystems. However, many of the nation's coral reef ecosystems remain vulnerable to ongoing and emerging threats, including vessel groundings. The Administration's proposal, the Coral Reef Ecosystem Conservation Amendments Act (CRECAA) of 2007, sought to strengthen the protection and restoration of our nation's coral reefs by providing expanded authorities to the Secretary of Commerce and the Secretary of the Interior. Portions of the Administration bill were incorporated into legislation passed by the Senate in the 110th Congress.

The Administration proposal addressed the following issues:

  • Added new areas of emphasis to the National Program and Coral Reef Conservation Program (CRCP) to address new and emerging threats to coral reef ecosystems.
  • Provided for consistent guidelines for maintaining environmental data, products, and information/
  • Augmented authorities to allow for stronger partnerships between the federal government and its partners. These partners include state governments, who are responsible for managing much of the nation's coral reef habitat.
  • Provided a suite of tools to facilitate response to and restoration of injury to coral reefs. With implementation of this proposal, the federal government would be able to conduct emergency response activities to address coral damage, carry-out long-term restoration on impacted coral reefs, and hold responsible parties liable for injury to coral resources.
  • Provided for direct removal of marine debris by the federal government. Marine debris is a chronic and long-term threat to the health and stability of our nation's shallow-water coral reefs.
  • Enhanced the Department of the Interior's ability to provide technical assistance to States and territories and carry out their research and management objectives.

For more specific details on the changes proposed in the CRECAA, download the section-by-section analysis or the CRCA strikethrough, a document that superimposes the changes proposed in the CRECAA over the original CRCA.

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