Congressman Rooney Testifies on the Defending Our National Marine Sanctuaries from Damaging Chemicals Act

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Washington, January 14, 2020 | Chris Berardi (202-225-2536) | comments

Washington, D.C. – Today, Congressman Francis Rooney testified on the importance of the Defending Our National Marine Sanctuaries from Damaging Chemicals Act, H.R. 1834, before the House Natural Resources Water, Oceans, and Wildlife Subcommittee. Congressman Rooney introduced H.R. 1834 last year which prohibits the use of sunscreen containing oxybenzone and octinoxate near coral reefs in federally protected waters within the National Marine Sanctuary System.

Congressman Rooney stated, “Coral reefs are the foundation of the marine ecosystem. They nurture marine life and provide for certain species of fish that rely on them for food. Coral reefs similarly play a major role in preventing coastal erosion and protecting the coastal wetlands. In Florida, they also significantly contribute to a $8.5 billion dollar a year tourism economy. This legislation will protect these critical components of our marine ecosystem and assure that they can be enjoyed and studied for generations to come. There are safe sunscreen options available that do not bleach or harm coral reefs, and the use of those should be encouraged. We must act now to prevent the use of these chemicals in National Marine Sanctuaries.”

Background:

• The Defending Our National Marine Sanctuaries from Damaging Chemicals Act was introduced by Congressman Rooney on March 18, 2019.
• This bill prohibits the use of sunscreen containing oxybenzone or octinoxate in a National Marine Sanctuary that contains coral.
• Sunscreen is essential for healthy skin and there are safe sunscreen options that can be used when visiting coral reefs so that coral bleaching will not occur.
• Congressman Rooney will work with Subcommittee Chairman Jared Huffman to advance this critical legislation in Congress.

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