Press Releases

Mucarsel-Powell and Rooney Introduce Bipartisan Bill to Ban Harmful Chemicals in National Marine Sanctuaries

Washington, March 19, 2019
Today, U.S. Rep. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell (FL-26), member of the Everglades Caucus and the Transportation & Infrastructure Committee, introduced bipartisan legislation along with U.S. Rep. Francis Rooney (FL-19) to ban the human use of oxybenzone and octinoxate – two of the most popular ingredients in chemical sunscreens – near coral reefs in the National Marine Sanctuary System including the Great Florida Reef found off the coast of the Florida Keys.

 

“Healthy coral reefs are essential to a sustainable future, but they are also incredibly fragile,” said Mucarsel-Powell. “Taking small steps, like preventing harmful chemicals from reaching coral reefs, can help ensure future generations can enjoy our beautiful ecosystems and protect tourism. Having worked for the Coral Restoration Foundation, I am proud to continue working to preserve the Florida Reef System in Congress. Defending our precious coral, the species that live in and around them, and the environmental and economic benefits they provide is a necessity, and I’m glad we’re able to work on this on a bipartisan basis.”

Rooney stated, “These chemicals are killing our coral reefs, which are vital to the marine ecosystem here in Florida and around the world. Reefs play a major role in preventing shore erosion and protect coastal wetlands. Their preservation is a key component of our tourism-based economy. I introduced the Defending Our National Marine Sanctuaries from Damaging Chemicals Act to protect these critical areas so that they can be enjoyed and studied for generations to come. It is common sense to prevent the application of these chemicals in National Marine Sanctuaries.”

Background:

  • Coral reefs support more species per unit area than any other marine environment, including about 4,000 species of fish, 800 species of hard corals and hundreds of other species.
  • The Commercial value of U.S. fisheries from coral reefs is over $100 million
  • Coral reefs may provide goods and services worth $375 billion each year.

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