Senate Approves Amendments to Sullivan's Save Our Seas 2.0 Act

WASHINGTON—U.S. Senator Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska), a member of the Senate Commerce, Science & Transportation Committee, applauded the Senate’s unanimous passage of his legislation amending the 2020 Save Our Seas (SOS) 2.0 Act and the 2006 Marine Debris Act. The amendments will provide the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) greater flexibility to deliver federal resources and enter into cooperative agreements to conduct marine debris prevention and clean-up. The legislation also clarifies the function and responsibilities of the congressionally-chartered Marine Debris Foundation, which Sullivan has strongly advocated should be established in Alaska. The legislation was introduced by Sens. Sullivan, Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), and Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) in the Senate, and Representatives Suzanne Bonamici (D-Ore.) and Jenniffer González-Colón (R-P.R.) in the House.

The SOS 2.0 Act—championed by Sen. Sullivan and signed into law in 2020—is the most comprehensive legislation ever passed by Congress to address the marine debris crisis threatening coastal ecosystems and communities, and harming marine life.

“Marine debris is a serious threat to so many aspects of life in Alaska—communities along our thousands of miles of coastline, our pristine marine ecosystem, and the health our world-class fisheries. Tackling this challenge has been a consistent focus of mine as Alaska’s senator,” said Sen. Sullivan. “We’ve made a lot of progress since the 2018 Save Our Seas Act and, last week, we had another win: My Senate colleagues unanimously passed amendments to SOS 2.0 that will, among other updates, give NOAA greater flexibility to deploy funds and work with a broader array of partners in the private and public sector to most effectively prevent and address the trash washing up on our shores. I look forward to keeping the momentum going, working with my colleagues, NOAA, and members of the new Marine Debris Foundation on this critically important—and solvable—environmental challenge.”

SOS 2.0 is composed of three primary pillars:

  • Strengthening the United States’ domestic marine debris response capability with a Marine Debris Foundation, a genius prize for innovation, and new research to tackle the issue.
  • Enhancing global engagement to combat marine debris, including formalizing U.S. policy on international cooperation, enhancing federal agency outreach to other countries, and exploring the potential for a new international agreement on the challenge. 
  • Improving domestic infrastructure to prevent marine debris through new grants for and studies of recycling and waste management and mitigation.

SOS 2.0 builds on the success of the Save Our Seas Act, legislation introduced by Sens. Sullivan and Whitehouse in the Senate, and Representatives Bonamici and the late Congressman Don Young (R-Alaska) in the House, and signed into law in October 2018. 

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