National Ocean Month: Victories for Sustainability & Conservation

The ocean is central to Rhode Island’s economy and culture. We understand how important it is to our prosperity and way of life, and we’ve taken big steps to preserve it for future generations. As National Ocean Month comes to a close, here’s a look back at some of my proudest moments defending our oceans.

The original Save Our Seas Act passed in 2018, serving as a bipartisan response to the growing danger posed by marine debris. The bill boosted the federal government’s domestic and international efforts to reduce plastic waste and other garbage, while funding research to help identify sources of debris.

In 2020, Save Our Seas 2.0 further strengthened America’s response to marine debris with the establishment of a Marine Debris Foundation, a genius prize for ocean innovation, and a boost for research to help us tackle the issue. In addition to improving domestic infrastructure to protect oceans from waste, the bill widened opportunities for international cooperation.

More recently, the BLUE GLOBE Act advanced out of the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee. If passed, the law would improve data collection and monitoring in the oceans, bays, estuaries, Great Lakes, and coasts. It also lays the foundation for a stronger maritime workforce, and speeds development of technology to help manage our fisheries.

After BLUE GLOBE comes the bipartisan Blue Carbon for our Planet Act, which would strengthen federal research on blue carbon and take steps to conserve important blue carbon ecosystems, including tidal marshes, mangroves, and seagrasses. The bill, which will be reintroduced this Congress and referred to the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee, would create a national map and inventory of these important ecosystems, study their ability to capture and store carbon dioxide, investigate the effects of climate change and other environmental stressors on rates of carbon sequestration, and restore and expand degraded blue carbon ecosystems.

We depend on the ocean, in Rhode Island and around the country. We must protect our ocean to make sure future generations can rely on it the way we do today. There’s lots more to do, but we’re making good progress.

U.S. Senator from Rhode Island, the Ocean State.