While summer starts to fade into the distance, a number of initiatives that gained momentum during beach season accelerated toward victory this fall. Last week saw the release of President Obama's Interagency Ocean Policy Task Force's Interim Report, and the next hurdle in passing Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs) legislation cleared. These were significant milestones for issues that are both high priorities for Ocean Champions.
President Obama's vision for our oceans and coasts came into clearer focus last week with the public unveiling of his Ocean Task Force's Interim Report. The Task Force recommended adoption of a national ocean policy that is built upon the need to protect, maintain and restore our oceans and coasts. The report also began to lay out the critical structures (National Ocean Council) and planning that will be essential to implementing the policy. Ocean Champions applauds President Obama and his officials for articulating, for the first time in our nation's history, a comprehensive vision for our oceans. We look forward to continuing to work with the Obama administration to help turn a vision into the reality of healthy oceans and coasts.
Regarding Toxic Tides, House Energy and Environment Subcommittee Chair Brian Baird held a hearing on HABs and Hypoxia to inform legislation he is crafting to address them. The Senate has already passed their HAB and Hypoxia bill out of committee, and Mr. Baird is looking to build upon what they've done. The successful hearing positions the bill for markup and (hopefully) passage into law. The panel of witnesses all spoke passionately about the threat posed by toxic tides and hypoxia and about the need to act. For full details on the hearing and witness testimony, please check out our blog.
With the hearing complete, the HABs bill will soon be introduced in the House. We will continue to work the halls of Congress to secure support for the bill, especially from our Champions. We will also continue to work with leadership in the House and Senate to secure the support needed to get floor time in the House and Senate. Our goal - an ambitious one - is to pass the bill this year.
As both the National Ocean Policy and the HABs bill move forward, we'll need your help to help push them over the finish line. We'll contact you asking for letters to members of Congress and the Obama administration several times over the next few weeks, and your activism will be critical for success. We're very, very close to victory on both fronts, but we cannot let up now.
For the oceans,
The Ocean Champions Team
P.S. We need your support to do this important work. Please become a member of Ocean Champions today. Your $25 can do incredible things for the ocean!