The “Save Our Seas Act of 2017 or the SOS Act of 2017” is a bill “to reauthorize and amend the Marine Debris Act to promote international action to reduce marine debris, and for other purposes”. “It also would require NOAA to work with other Federal agencies to develop outreach and education strategies on sources of marine debris. In addition, this Act would provide the Administrator of NOAA (Administrator) the authority to make a severe marine debris event determination and make sums available for use by the affected State. Lastly, it would promote international action to reduce marine debris”.
The S.O.S Act of 2017 introduced by Senator Dan Sullivan (R-AK) has two major parts. The first part is that It calls on the Executive Branch to get the U.S. State Department more engaged in marine debris. The State Department would do this by directly working with countries that have been marked as sources of ocean plastic. This process will help open a discussion about potential solutions, including waste management infrastructure, to reduce trash leaking into the marine environment.
Not only is Congress seeing that the marine debris problem is global in nature, but they are also recognizing that the State Department has an important role to play to make a meaningful reduction in the amount of trash flowing into our ocean.And it’s last part, according to the bill itself, is “to reauthorize and amend the Marine Debris Act to promote international action to reduce marine debris, and for other purposes” for five years at a maximum of $10 million per year. This is paramount because as the federal budget continues to be pressed, programs are competing against each other due to limited funding. While many federal programs operate with expired Congressional authorizations and still receive appropriated funds, a program that has specifically been reauthorized by Congress is more likely to be prioritized for funding during the annual Federal budget process.
We all need food to drink, air to breathe, and a climate and earth that we can live in. Because the ocean is said to be the largest ecosystem on earth, it is our largest support system. And in order to prosper, we need clean oceans. Oceans create half of the oxygen that we breathe.
Oceans are also reported to provide a sixth of the protein that people consume. Oceans have also played an integral role in the creation of new medicines to fight cancer and bacterial diseases. Living oceans absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and reduce the impact of climate change.The diversity and productivity of the world’s oceans are a vital interest of humankind.
Our security, our economy, our very survival all require healthy oceans. So when groups such as the Marine Conservation Institute work to save the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands, when we work to get agencies to devote more energy to research, monitoring or enforcement of laws, and when individuals such as Dan Sullivan and Sheldon Whitehouse introduce bills such as the S.O.
S Act of 2017 we are working to save the oceans for us now and for generations to come.In conclusion, our job is to see that you have healthy oceans. It’s the smart thing and the right thing to do. And with that being said I, someone who believes in ocean conservation, wholeheartedly believe in passing the S.O.
S Act of 2017. Together, we can stem the tide and achieve our vision of trash free seas