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Columbia County Observer

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US Senator Bill NelsonU.S. Senator Bill Nelson - Update
October 12, 2011

Spending Act Contains FEMA Funds for FY ‘12 

Senator Nelson voted to pass H.R. 2608, the Continuing Appropriations Act of 2012, which funds the government through November 18th, 2011 at a level of $1.043 trillion for FY12. This act includes $2.65 billion for FEMA’s disaster relief fund for FY12 

Gulf Task Force Releases Strategy   

For more information
Lynn Bannister: Director of Outreach
111 North Adams St
Tallahassee, FL  32301
850-942-8415 / 850-942-8450 (fax)

The Gulf Task Force created by President Obama in the wake of the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and chaired by EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson released its comprehensive preliminary strategy for long-term ecosystem restoration.

The restoration framework consists of four overarching goals: restore and conserve habitat; restore water quality; replenish and protect living coastal and marine resources; and enhance community resilience.

The plan includes specific steps for on-the-ground action and places Gulf coastal restoration on an equal footing with other national priorities.

The preliminary strategic plan is available for review and comment on the EPA website.

The public comment period ends midnight October 26, 2011. 

Mayport Carrier

Senator Nelson, along with Senator Rubio and Representative Crenshaw, sent a letter to new Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Greenert. The members reiterated support for the Navy’s decision to homeport a nuclear carrier at Mayport and asked that given cost savings and national security risks associated with the single Atlantic homeport, the carrier move be advanced three years to 2016.

Protecting the Integrity of the Rum-Cover Over Program

 Senator Nelson cosponsored S.986, the “Investing in U.S. Territories, Not Corporations Act of 2011,” a bill that would protect the integrity and effectiveness of the rum cover-over program by placing a cap of 15 percent on the amount of money the territories can use to subsidize private liquor producers.

Senator Nelson cosponsored similar legislation last year. Most of the revenue generated from the federal excise tax on rum sold in the U.S. is given—“covered over”—to the treasuries of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

The purpose of the cover-over program is to provide budgetary support to the territories for essential public infrastructure and services. However, the territories have recently used the program to subsidize the distilled spirits industry for the primary benefit of corporate interests, irrespective of local needs. This bill will refocus the cover-over program on critical services and infrastructure improvements to foster sustainable prosperity. The legislation is pending before the Senate Finance Committee.

Syrian Sanctions

Senator Nelson cosponsored S.1472, a bipartisan bill to sanction the Syrian energy sector until Syria establishes a democratically elected, representative government.

This bill would enhance recent US and EU sanctions on Syria by denying companies that conduct business in Syria's energy sector (investment, oil purchases, and sale of gasoline) access to U.S. financial institutions and requires federal contractors to certify that they are not engaged in sanctionable activity. Human rights groups in Syria say that more than 2,900 people have been killed since the uprising against the Syrian government began in March.

 Assessing Progress in Haiti Act

Senator Nelson is a cosponsor of S. 1576, which would measure the progress of relief, recovery, reconstruction, and development efforts in Haiti following the earthquake of January 12, 2010.

This legislation directs the President to report to Congress on the status of post-earthquake humanitarian, reconstruction, and development efforts in Haiti, including efforts to treat and prevent cholera. As Haiti transitions from humanitarian relief to long-term recovery, especially under a newly elected government, additional reporting requirements will encourage direct consultation with the Haitian government, diaspora, grassroots, and civil society.

This work by the Columbia County Observer is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 United States License.

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