The U.S. House of Representatives recently passed bipartisan legislation led by House Oceans Caucus Co-Chairs Representatives Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR) and Don Young (R-AK) along with Senators Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Dan Sullivan (R-AK), and Bob Menendez (D-NJ) to strengthen the federal response to marine debris.
Save Our Seas 2.0 – which is supported by the recreational boating community – builds on the original Save Our Seas Act to improve the domestic response to marine debris, incentivize international engagement on marine debris, and strengthen domestic waste management infrastructure to prevent the creation of new marine debris.
“We need to fundamentally change our reliance on plastics,” said Rep. Bonamici, who spoke in support of the legislation on the House floor. “A problem this pervasive – a global problem of this magnitude – cannot be solved with a single bill.”
“We cannot limit our action to removing existing plastic from the ocean, and we also cannot recycle our way out of plastic waste that ends up on our shores,” Rep. Bonamici said, calling the Save Our Seas 2.0 a meaningful bill that helps strengthen the NOAA Marine Debris Program.
“As marine debris and plastic waste continue to threaten public health and the economic prosperity of coastal communities, I’m so pleased to see our legislation take this giant step forward today,” said Sen. Menendez, adding “the Save Our Seas Act 2.0 will bolster U.S. capacities and leadership in the global effort against plastic pollution and I am committed to continue working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to get it over the finish line and signed into law.”
The Senate, which passed Save Our Seas 2.0 by unanimous consent earlier this year will need to approve technical changes made in the House before the bill can be sent to the President to be signed.