by Nick Delgado
Guam - Vice Speaker B.J. Cruz introduced legislation that would protect coral reefs from reckless behavior from marine vessels. Bill 120 would establish the Coral Reef Protection Act and would allow for recovery of damages and the assessment of civil penalties for such damage.
Research studies show that coral reefs on Guam are worth $127 million a year in economic revenues and cultural value is priceless, according to Cruz. The vice speaker adds shipping associated with the military buildup is also certain to increase potential for damage to the reefs.
The barge that grounded in West Hagatna Bay in 2007 and damaged nearly 3,000 square meters of reef area also prompted the bill.