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Public Statements

Clean Estuaries Act Of 2010

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

Clean Estuaries Act Of 2010

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Ms. HIRONO. Mr. Chair, I rise today in support of H.R. 4715, the Clean Estuaries Act. This Act reauthorizes the Environmental Protection Agency's National Estuary Program, which coordinates federal, state and local government efforts, as well as cooperation from private and nonprofit groups, to help protect estuaries.

Estuaries support diverse habitats for a wide variety of species and provide significant economic and recreational benefits. Many fish and shellfish species depend on the sheltered habitat provided by estuaries, as well as the mix of saline and fresh water. The abundance of aquatic life supported by estuaries provides 75 percent of the U.S. commercial fish catch and 80 to 90 percent of the recreational fish catch.

The Environmental Protection Agency already has accepted 28 estuaries into the National Estuary Program. The Clean Estuaries Act increases the annual authorization from $35 million to $50 million, an amount that, if fully appropriated, will allow the Environmental Protection Agency to add 12 new estuaries to the program. At present, 38 estuaries are candidates for the program, including two estuaries in the State of Hawaii--Kaneohe Bay and Hanalei Bay--that could benefit greatly from the support provided by the program. I urge my colleagues to join me in supporting this bill to protect the ecological, recreational, and economic benefits of our nation's estuaries.

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