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Marine Debris Research, Prevention, and Reduction Act

Location: Washington, DC

MARINE DEBRIS RESEARCH, PREVENTION, AND REDUCTION ACT -- (House of Representatives - September 27, 2006)


Mr. FILNER. Mr. Speaker, I think everything has been said, and I urge support for the bill.

Mr. Speaker, I rise today in strong support of S. 362, the Marine Debris Research, Prevention, and Reduction Act.

America's beaches are littered with garbage washed ashore. At a time when more and more people are enjoying being outdoors, we're finding more debris on our coasts that can pose a serious threat to beachgoers, boaters, and divers.

Congress has already passed many laws that attempt to address this issue including the Clean Water Act, the Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships, the Ocean Dumping Act, the Driftnet Impact Monitoring, Assessment, and Control Act, and the Marine Plastic Pollution Research and Control Act. Yet the problem persists.

S. 362 attempts to address these issues by having the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) undertake various initiatives to reduce and prevent the use and adverse impact of debris on the marine environment including--

Assessing the impact of marine debris found in the navigable waters of the United States and our 200-mile Exclusive Economic Zone.

Mapping and removing marine debris from our coastal waters.

Requiring measures to prevent the loss of fishing gear that can kill fish and marine mammals for years after they are lost from a ship.

Establishing outreach and education programs to help those that live on and along our waters to understand the impact of marine debris on our environment.

Under this legislation, the Coast Guard is required to enforce existing laws and treaties related to marine pollution and to develop new regulations on the disposal of plastics and fishing gear.

Plastic and other materials that are not biodegradable threaten the health of our oceans. Therefore, we must find a way to make sure they don't get into the water in the first place. As someone who represents a coastal district, I look forward to the day when I can walk down the beach without seeing it polluted by marine debris that has washed ashore.

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank Chairman Young, Chairman LoBiondo and Ranking Member Oberstar for the bipartisan approach that they took to develop this legislation. This legislation is another step forward in protecting the world's oceans from marine debris.

Mr. Speaker, I yield back the balance of my time.

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