WASHINGTON, D.C. — A bipartisan group of senators introduced a bill last week that encourages funding for marine debris cleanup and would hold other countries accountable for marine debris that ends up along U.S. coastlines and others around the world.
Sen. Thom Tillis, R-N.C., signed on as co-sponsor of the Save Our Seas Act, Senate Bill 756, which was introduced by Sens. Dan Sullivan, R-Alaska, Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., and Cory Booker, D-N.J.
Sens. Chris Coons, D-Del.; Jim Inhofe, R-Okla.; Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska; and Gary Peters, D-Mich. also co-sponsored the bill.
“Stopping the flow of garbage that fills our oceans and washes up on shorelines is a challenge that requires bipartisan and international cooperation,” Whitehouse said .
A press release from Sullivan’s office notes that U.S. shorelines need constant cleanup from foreign marine debris, including 250,000 tons of debris on the oceans’ surface and 11,000 tons that enter the Great Lakes annually.
The act addresses marine debris in three ways: It allows the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to declare severe marine debris events and authorize funds; it reauthorizes NOAA’s Office of Response and Restoration’s Marine Debris Program through 2022; and it encourages studies and engagement with foreign countries on marine debris.
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