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World Ocean Day

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Ms. CHU. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

Mr. Speaker, on behalf of the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, I'm happy to rise in support of House Resolution 1330. This measure recognizes June 8, 2010, as World Ocean Day.

World Ocean Day offers the opportunity to celebrate the wonders of the underwater world and look carefully at our interactions with the sea.

The timing of this measure is critical. Today we find ourselves in the midst of the worst ocean oil disaster in our Nation's history. With our addiction to oil jeopardizing the vibrant and economically vital marine life of America's seas, we are being reminded daily of the often-forgotten value of these resources and our responsibility to protect them.

The world's oceans cover more than 70 percent of our planet's surface, and the rich web of life that they support is the result of hundreds of millions of years of evolution. Great human civilizations, from the Egyptians to the Polynesians, relied on the sea for commerce and transport.

And now, in the 21st century, our fate is as tied to the oceans as ever. We still rely on fish for a significant portion of our daily protein needs. And more than $500 billion of the world's economy is tied to ocean-based industries, such as coastal tourism and shipping.

But all is not well in the sea. Increased pressures from overfishing, habitat destruction, pollution, and introduction of invasive alien species have combined in recent decades to threaten the diversity of life in our oceans.

The first observance of World Ocean Day will allow us to highlight the many ways in which oceans contribute to society. It is also an opportunity to recognize the considerable challenges we face in maintaining the capacity to regulate global climate, supply essential ecosystem services, and provide sustainable livelihoods and safe recreation.

As the oil continues to spill into the gulf, it is time to recognize a World Ocean Day and take the first critical steps to saving this vital resource.

House Resolution 1330 was introduced by our colleague, the gentleman from California, Representative SAM FARR, on May 5, 2010. The measure was referred to the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, which ordered it reported favorably by unanimous consent on May 20, 2010. The measure has the support of over 50 Members of the House.

I thank the gentleman from California for introducing this measure, and I'd also like to thank Chairman Towns and Ranking Member Issa for their support for the bill. I urge my colleagues to support this measure.

Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.

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