Coastal advocates bring coastal concerns to Congress

Leading coastal advocacy group focuses on
Environmental Challenges at its annual Coastal Summit March 9-11

Online PR News – 01-March-2010 – – WASHINGTON, D.C. – In the wake of back-to-back coastal storms that hammered both coasts, more than 100 activists are in Washington, DC, this week, to urge Congress to adopt new policies to manage America’s coasts.

The American Shore & Beach Preservation Association is hosting a “Coastal Summit” to hear experts discuss coastal and ocean processes. The group has been focusing on increasing federal funding for cooperative efforts that will improve hurricane evacuation planning, coastal community sustainability, and the complex ecological system of the coast. The group also plans to take its plea to Capitol Hill to urge congressional leaders to adopt policies that will protect people, property and environmental resources from destruction.

Nearly 55 percent of America’s population lives along the coast, and that number is expected to increase significantly over the next quarter century. As the nation’s biggest tourist attraction, coastal regions attract 180 million tourist visits annually, pumping $260 billion into the U.S. economy, $3 billion into the Federal treasury, and supporting 15 million American middle class and service worker jobs.

“We want to reduce the risk for people who live or visit the coast and implement new approaches to protecting the environmental resources that make America’s coastal regions so unique,” said Mayor Harry Simmons of Caswell Beach, NC, the group’s president. “Our members are doing their part on the state and local levels. What we need is for the federal government to increase its investment in the coast. This is not a question of doing one or two more studies or projects. It is one of leadership and commitment to a future that begins by taking the right steps now. “

The Coastal Summit will also highlight ASBPA’s efforts to improve the health of the nation’s natural resources and restore those that are endangered. “Those of us who live along America’s coast know how important and fragile it is,” said Simmons. “We know that what happens along the coast affects everything that is landward and seaward of wide, sandy beaches and beautiful wetlands. As stewards of the coast, we want Congress to give a higher priority to its health and its future. Coasts and the oceans that surround them are simply not a significant congressional priority. We have come to our nation’s capital to change that by taking our plea to as many Members of Congress and other federal officials as we can.”

The diverse group of advocates includes state and local officials as well as coastal and environmental scientists. The theme of this year’s Summit is “America’s Coast: Becoming an Administration Priority.” Its primary goals are:
• Making comprehensive coastal management a concern for the Obama administration in order to reverse years of federal neglect.
• Persuading the president and Congress to invest in reducing coastal risks and damages, increase the vitality of estuaries and other environmental resources, and ending the current system of uncoordinated, project-by-project and agency-by-agency actions based on too little data and not enough participation from a variety of stakeholder groups.
• Mobilizing America’s coastal majority to get the attention of Congress and the Obama administration.

The Summit will take place March 9-11 at the Center for Association Leadership, Reagan Trade Center, 1300 Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington, DC, and will feature leading coastal scientists, officials from coastal communities and Members of Congress.

The Summit’s honorary host committee is the House Coastal Caucus, whose co-chairs include Representatives Frank Pallone (D-NJ), Walter Jones, Jr. (R-NC), Lois Capps (D-CA) and Henry Brown (R-SC).

As part of the Coastal Summit, ASBPA will honor Congressional coastal advocates and federal staffers who have been instrumental in the fight to preserve America’s beaches. Plus, the seven beaches named as 2009's Best Restored Beaches will be in the spotlight at a special awards reception on Capitol Hill.

A complete Summit agenda is available online at www.asbpa.org.

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ABOUT ASBPA: Founded in 1926, the ASBPA promotes the integration of science, policies and actions that maintain, protect and enhance the coasts of America. For more information on ASBPA, go to www.asbpa.org, facebook or www.twitter.com/asbpa.

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Contact Information
Tina Haisman, APR, CPRC
5460 Beaujolais Lane
Fort Myers FL, 33919

239-292-2882