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Ocean Champions: Political Champions for Ocean Conservation

Dear Friend,

Just minutes ago the House of Representatives passed H.R. 3650 The Harmful Algal Bloom and Hypoxia Research and Control Act.  Yesterday we sounded the alarm, you responded and together we helped produce immediate action:  a second and successful vote on the House floor.  Thank you to Congressional champions who wouldn't quit, and to all who made their voice heard.  As a result, this strong ocean bill is closer to becoming a law.

We're thrilled about this victory, and honored that Congressman Brian Baird (D-WA) and Congressman Connie Mack IV (R-FL) both thanked Ocean Champions by name on the House floor.  Several other champions rose to speak passionately about the issue, including Congressmen Vern Ehlers (D-MI), Frank Kratovil (D-MD) and Congresswoman Kathy Castor (D-FL). 

These champions are passionate, because they know that HABs are a dangerous, growing problem.  They kill fish, marine mammals, birds and pet dogs, put fishermen out of work, ruin vacations and make people really sick (sometimes fatally).  While HABs peak in the summer, they are becoming problematic year around.  In recent weeks, we've seen outbreaks suspected of mass pelican kills in California, and predicted to wreak havoc on the northeast shellfish industry next summer.

 H.R. 3650 is a great solution to these problems. It will develop, coordinate and implement an integrated national strategy along with regional action plans to address and reduce harmful algal blooms and hypoxia.  It will fund research where causes are not well understood, and the implementation of solutions where they are. 

We couldn't be happier at this point, and would like to thank Congressman Brian Baird (D-WA) who sponsored the legislation, and Chairman Bart Gordon (D-TN) for their leadership.  We'd also like to thank all the other ocean champions who supported the bill, including original co-sponsors Connie Mack IV (R-FL), Kathy Castor (D-FL), Frank Kratovil (D-MD), and Vern Ehlers (R-MI).

We now need to move the bill through the always tricky Senate.  There is solid support and we're working hard to find the right vehicle, but we may need your help once again over the coming weeks and months to make sure we get this bill over the goal line before the 111th Congress wraps up.  For now, we'll celebrate another major milestone for this important legislation.

For the oceans,

The Ocean Champions Team

P.S. Did you notice how many ocean champions (Members we endorsed) helped make this happen?  This is the kind of ocean policy leadership we look for, and why elections matter.  We'll be sure to tell all of them how grateful we are for their commitment.

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