‘To Save Our Oceans, There’s No Time to Waste’
Washington, D.C. — The Save Our Seas 2.0 legislation, created to address the plastic pollution crisis in the world’s oceans, passed the Senate Commerce Committee last week, following separate approvals by the Senate Foreign Relations and Environment and Public Works committees. The measure now heads to the Senate floor for a final vote.
U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez, along with Sens. Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), introduced the three-part Save Our Seas 2.0 Act last June, making the argument for a bold, bipartisan bill to dramatically marine debris.
In a recently published joint op-ed, the senators wrote, “Save Our Seas 2.0 seeks to bolster federal agencies in their work to combat marine debris, push international action, support needed domestic infrastructure improvements and promote innovation. It makes significant progress toward the goals of reducing the creation of new plastic waste while dealing with existing plastic waste to stop it from polluting the oceans.”
The measure was drafted in consultation with environmental and industry experts, and designed to build on existing clean ocean legislation, and to do so with bipartisan support.
As the senators note in their op-ed, “To save our oceans, there’s no time to waste.” They add, “We may have plenty of political differences, but we come from coastal states. That means we have a front-row seat to the peril of plastic waste and marine debris flowing into our oceans at the rate of around 8 million metric tons per year. We understand what it will mean for our fishing and tourism industries when the weight of plastic in our oceans equals the weight of fish in the sea – something projected to happen by mid-century. We don’t have a moment to lose in confronting this problem.
“No one bill in Congress can solve a global crisis such as marine debris on its own. But Save Our Seas 2.0 represents significant progress and sets all of us up for continued efforts of all kinds in this field. Save Our Seas 2.0 will support environmental groups cleaning up beaches, industry collaborating with government, scientists conducting research, legislative efforts moving forward at all levels of government, and much more.”