April 5, 2017

Bipartisan Save Our Seas Act Advances from Commerce Committee

Marine debris legislation heads to Senate floor

Washington, DC – Senators Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) and Dan Sullivan (R-AK) thanked the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee today for unanimously passing their bipartisan Save Our Seas Act, which would help address the global marine debris crisis affecting coastal ecosystems and communities in Rhode Island and across the country. 

Upon approval of the bill in the Commerce Committee, Senators Sullivan and Whitehouse sat down to discuss the ramifications of ocean debris for Rhode Island and Alaska, and how the Save Our Seas Act can help form international cooperation toward addressing and mitigating the problem.

Watch the Senators’ discussion HERE

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 FY2022.  Its mission is to conduct research on the source of marine debris and take action to prevent and clean up marine debris.
  • Encouraging the Executive Branch 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 nations in addressing the crisis. 

Senators Cory Booker (D-NJ), Chris Coons (D-DE), Jim Inhofe (R-OK), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Gary Peters (D-MI), and Thom Tillis (R-NC) also co-sponsored the bill.  All cosponsors of the bill are members of the bipartisan Senate Oceans Caucus, which Senator Whitehouse co-founded in 2011 with Senator Murkowski.


Press Contact

Meaghan McCabe, (202) 224-2921