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Dan Mele, a graduate student working on a master’s thesis in the marine and environmental science program at UVI, is testing a new coral planting method.
Gov. Albert Bryan Jr. has vetoed legislation delaying the territory’s ban on most widely used sunscreens, meaning it will go into effect March 30 as the law initially required. The law is aimed at protecting the territory’s coral reefs.
The Nature Conservancy is building a seawater nursery to conduct assisted coral fertilization and coral reef conservation work according to Ashlee Lillis, TNC’s Virgin Islands Coral Manager for the Caribbean Division.
The 33rd Legislature approved a host of bills Tuesday when it convened in session, including the Medicaid windfall bill, which directs some $39.5 million to pay the hospitals’ Water and Power Authority bill, and a measure that would ban the sale of sunscreens containing coral-killing chemicals.
The Committee on Rules and Judiciary unanimously approved the ban of toxic chemicals found in most sunscreens on Thursday, moving bill 33-0043 forward to the full Senate. If it is enacted before January 2021 it will make the V.I. the first state or territory in the U.S. to have legislation against the chemicals oxybenzone and octinoxate.
A Senate committee voted Monday to forward a bill banning two chemicals found in many sunscreens after a panel of witnesses, including chemists and divers, testified that the compounds contribute to the deterioration of coral reefs and have been linked to harmful side effects in humans.