February 8, 2013

RI Oceans Leader to Join Sen. Whitehouse for State of the Union Address

Whitehouse Continues Pushing for Action on Oceans and Climate Change

Sheldon Whitehouse Greets SOTU Guest, Grover Fugate

Washington, DC – U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) announced today that his guest for this year’s State of the Union address will be Grover Fugate, Executive Director of the Rhode Island Coastal Resources Management Council (CRMC), and a local expert on the effects of a changing climate on the state’s coastal communities and resources.
So far this year Senator Whitehouse has continued his leadership on issues related to climate change and oceans.  He gives weekly speeches on the Senate floor about the effects of climate change, and formed the Bicameral Task Force on Climate Change with Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA).  Last Congress he established the bipartisan Senate Oceans Caucus and championed creation of a National Endowment for the Oceans to invest more in research and restoration of our oceans and coasts.  With over 400 miles of coastline, sea-level rise, extreme weather events and ocean acidification jeopardize the natural resources Rhode Island relies on.
“Climate change is already hurting our Ocean State, with warmer ocean temperatures and rising sea level contributing to stronger coastal storms that put people, infrastructure, and critical habitat at risk,” said Whitehouse.  “Grover has seen these changes up close, and has been a leader in Rhode Island’s effort to minimize the damage to our coastal communities while maximizing our use of coastal resources.  I’m honored to have him as a partner as I continue fighting to break through the barricade of special interests blocking action on climate change in Washington.”
“I am honored to attend the President’s State of the Union address as a guest of Senator Whitehouse, representing the State of Rhode Island and the Coastal Resources Management Council,” said Fugate.  “President Obama has made climate change and alternative energy part of his focus for the next term, and the work the CRMC has accomplished as a national leader in marine spatial planning with the Ocean Special Area Management Plan, as well as our efforts to plan for climate change, is very timely.  I look forward to being a part of this day.”
Mr. Fugate has served as Executive Director of the CRMC for over 25 years and in 2010 he received the Susan Snow-Cotter Award for Excellence in Ocean and Coastal Resource Management from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.  Mr. Fugate also served as the Program Manager for Rhode Island’s Ocean Special Area Management Plan (SAMP), a first-of-its-kind ocean-stakeholder driven management plan that balances the development and protection of Rhode Island’s ocean-based resources.
President Obama established the country’s first National Ocean Policy through executive order in 2010, and just last month said in his inaugural address that a failure to respond to climate change would “betray our children and future generations.”  Following those remarks, Senator Whitehouse and Rep. Waxman wrote to the President and urged him to develop a comprehensive climate change plan.
More information about Senator Whitehouse’s work on climate change is available at www.whitehouse.senate.gov/climatechange.

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