Today, the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee passed S. 756, the Save Our Seas Act, a companion bill to Alaska Congressman Don Young’s previously introduced legislation H.R. 2748.
“Mr. Chairman, I appreciate the Committee taking up S. 756, sponsored by my Senator Dan Sullivan from Alaska which is a companion bill to my legislation H.R. 2748, which addresses plastics in our oceans,” said Congressman Young. “As a member of the Oceans Caucus, I know that we need to address this issue very quickly and this bill is a step in the right direction…I hope everyone here recognizes this is one of the biggest problems we have in our oceans today. This issue affects our fisheries, our coastlines – and possibly the decline in our fisheries due to the invasion of these harmful plastic products.”
Watch Congressman Young’s Committee remarks here.
Congressman Young continued, “This legislation is an important step to ensuring the U.S. and our international partners have the resources necessary to manage and address marine debris events in a timely and effective effort. With that, I urge members to support this legislation.”
S. 756 passed out of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee by unanimous consent. Marine debris is considered a growing global crisis that requires collaborative work with partners from across the world. Current authorizations for marine debris removal programs have expired, and without this legislation, there will continue to be a lack of resources to address the looming issue. The Save Our Seas Act will help confront the marine debris crisis by:
- Allowing the NOAA Administrator to declare severe marine debris events and authorize funds to assist with cleanup and response. The Governor of the affected state may request the NOAA Administrator make this declaration.
- Reauthorizing NOAA’s Marine Debris Program through FY 2022. Its mission is to conduct research on the source of marine debris and act to prevent and clean up marine debris.
- Encouraging the Executive Branch – led by the U.S. State Department – to engage with the leaders of nations responsible for the majority of marine debris, support research into ocean biodegradable plastics, examine the causes of ocean debris, develop effective prevention and mitigation strategies, and quantify the economic benefits for treaty nations in addressing the crisis.
Congressman Young is the Co-Chair of the House Oceans Caucus which works to promote efforts in addressing the global marine debris crisis affecting our oceans and increasing awareness about responsible ocean policy. Earlier this month, on World Ocean’s Day, Congressman Young and Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR) authored the op-ed, “We Must Act to Protect the Health and Future of Our Oceans” which can be read here.