Sending Office: Honorable Suzanne Bonamici
Reduce Ocean Plastic and Marine Debris – Cosponsor the Bipartisan Save Our Seas 2.0 Act
As Co-Chairs of the House Oceans Caucus, we invite you to cosponsor the bipartisan Save Our Seas 2.0 Act to strengthen efforts to eliminate marine debris in our ocean and increase investments in infrastructure to reduce the creation and pollution of plastic
waste on a global scale.
Every minute, the equivalent of a garbage truck full of plastic is dumped into our ocean. According to the United Nations, that is more than eight million metric tons a year. Plastic bottles, straws, grocery bags, cigarette butts, fishing gear, and abandoned
vessels litter the ocean. Tiny pieces of plastic, fiber, fragments, and microbeads also make their way into marine life, blocking digestive tracts, altering growth, and, in some cases, killing animals and marine organisms. We still don’t know how long it takes
for plastic to completely biodegrade. Estimates range from 450 years to never.
The health of our ocean reflects the health of our planet, and we must do more to keep garbage out of the ocean and off our shores. Marine debris harms our costal economies, endangers marine life, destroys important marine habitat, propagates invasive species,
and creates hazardous conditions for the maritime industry. Last year, Congress unanimously passed the bipartisan Save Our Seas Act to reauthorize the NOAA Marine Debris Program. Save Our Seas 2.0 Act builds on this bipartisan success.
The Save Our Seas 2.0 Act would improve the domestic response to marine debris, incentivize international engagement to address marine debris, and improve domestic infrastructure to prevent the creation of new marine debris.
The bill would:
- Establish a Marine Debris Response Trust Fund for NOAA to use in responding to marine debris events.
- Create a Marine Debris Foundation to encourage, accept, and administer private gifts in connection with the activities and services of the NOAA Marine Debris Program.
- Authorize a prize competition to advance innovation in the removal and prevention of plastic waste.
- Direct federal agencies to prioritize encouraging, advising, and facilitating foreign countries to improve capacity and operation of waste management systems.
- Require the Secretary of State to submit a report Congress assessing the potential for negotiating a new international agreement or creating a new forum to address marine debris
- Direct the EPA to develop a strategy within one year to improve waste management and recycling infrastructure, harmonize waste collection and recycling protocols, strengthen markets for recycled plastic content, and identify barriers to increasing the collection
of recyclable materials.
- Create a Waste Management Revolving Fund, Waste Management Infrastructure Grant program, Drinking Water Infrastructure Grant program, Wastewater Infrastructure Grant program, and Trash-Free Water Grant program to assist local waste management authorities
in improving and deploying waste interceptor technologies in waterways.
If you would like additional information or to cosponsor the Save Our Seas 2.0 Act, please contact Maxine Sugarman in Rep. Bonamici’s office at
Maxine.Sugarman@mail.house.gov or 5-0855.
Suzanne Bonamici Don Young
Member of Congress Member of Congress
e-Dear Colleague version 2.0