Yesterday, the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation approved the Save our Seas (SOS) Act of 2017 to further address the global threat of marine debris in our oceans. The bill reauthorizes NOAA’s Marine Debris Program through 2022, which aids in researching, preventing and reducing consequences of marine debris. NMMA supports the bill, recognizing the importance of protecting the nation’s waterways for future generations of marine habitats, boaters and businesses.
According to NOAA, among the environmental threats, marine debris also impacts navigational safety, the economy and human health. Through the SOS Act of 2017, the NOAA Administrator is permitted to authorize funds for cleanup and response to their declaration of a severe marine debris event, such as the result of a hurricane.
The bill introduced by U.S. Senators Dan Sullivan (R-AK), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) and Cory Booker (D-NJ), notably includes language encouraging the executive branch to prompt international engagement to work toward establishing preventative measures across global nations and reduce marine debris. The committee’s approval is the first step to the complete passage of the SOS Act, which will now be sent to the Senate.