Senate Passes Marine Debris Legislation

The U.S. Senate has passed legislation aimed at confronting the global marine debris crisis. The Save Our Seas Act, which would boost the federal government’s domestic and international response to ocean waste, now goes for consideration to the U.S. House, where the House oceans Caucus has introduced companion language.

The Save Our Seas Act would allow the NOAA administrator to declare severe marine debris events and authorize funds to assist with cleanup and response.

Governors of affected states could ask NOAA to make the declaration.

The act would reauthorize NOAA”s Marine Debris Program through fiscal year 2022.

It would also encourage the executive branch of the government to engage with 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 treaty nations in addressing the crisis.

The legislation was introduced by Senators Dan Sullivan, R-Alaska; Sheldon Whitehouse, D-RI, and Cory Booker, D-N.J.