Amending marine legislation would boast aid marine debris program

A bipartisan group of sponsors say legislation introduced in Congress in February would ease delivery of federal resources and enter into cooperative agreements for marine debris prevention and clean-up.

The proposed amendment to the 2020 Save Our Seas (SOS) 2.0 Act and the 2006 Marine Debris Act is sponsored by U.S. Sens. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., Gary Peters, D-Mich., Dan Sullivan, R-Alaska and Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., with Reps. Suzanne Bonamici, D-Ore., and Jenniffer González-Colón, R-Puerto Rico.

The legislation, which passed the Senate by unanimous consent in the previous Congress, would also clarify the function and responsibilities of the congressionally chartered Marine Debris Foundation. Board members of the foundation include Chair Ginny L. Eckert, the director of Alaska Sea Grant and a professor in the University of Alaska College of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences, and Julianne Curry, public affairs manager of Icicle Seafoods.

Sullivan said that modifying those two pieces of legislation would enhance NOAA and the foundation’s ability to deploy federal resources and enter into effective public and private partnerships. He said it is an entirely solvable global environmental challenge that will better protect marine ecosystems, fisheries and coastal economies.

“Marine debris threatens ocean health,” Bonamici said. “The bipartisan Save Our Seas 2.0 Act took a significant step toward addressing this pollution, and now we have the opportunity to build on that success by making it easier to use the resources the law provides.”

Peters said the legislation would help people in his home state.


“The Great Lakes provide drinking water for 40 million people, drive our state’s economy, and are simply in our DNA as Michiganders,” said Peters. “This bipartisan legislation would help preserve the unique Great Lakes ecosystem and protect this critical natural resource for future generations by supporting marine debris prevention and clean-up efforts.”