Last week, Ocean Champions held its annual celebration to honor our Congressional champions for their great work on ocean conservation. This year's celebration, was doubly special, because we were able to announce our endorsement of Congresswoman Chellie Pingree (D-ME) at the event. The Congresswoman earned this endorsement through her tremendous freshman term, during which she already established herself as a leader on ocean issues.
Congresswoman Pingree was instrumental in bringing the Harmful Algal Bloom and Hypoxia Research and Control bill back to the House floor for a second, successful vote. As you know, this bill will fund monitoring, mitigation and prevention of toxic algal blooms, which are a dangerous, growing problem. They kill fish, marine mammals, birds and pet dogs, put fishermen out of work, ruin vacations and make people extremely sick (sometimes fatally).
The Congresswoman has also shown a flair for innovative solutions. She responded to BP's Gulf oil disaster by introducing the Spilled Oil Royalty Collection Act. Recognizing that oil companies pay royalties on the oil they sell, this bill provides additional incentive for companies like BP to drill safely by charging them royalties on barrels of oil they spill as well. It would then direct any royalties collected toward clean energy projects.
Congresswoman Pingree was also an original co-sponsor of the Coastal Jobs Creation Act. Certain overfished fisheries may need to be closed at a difficult economic time for fishermen. Instead of weakening fishing governance and further depleting threatened fisheries, the Coastal Jobs Creation Act would provide opportunities for fishermen to work with scientists collecting data on stock assessments and reducing bycatch, and on collecting marine debris and reducing pollution.
"I love the ocean. Living on an island 12 miles off of the coast of Maine, I see how important a healthy ocean is to our coastal communities - from the fishermen and clam diggers to the oyster growers and tourists, so many jobs depend on having clean water. Being endorsed by ocean champions means so much to me and I am looking forward to continuing to work to protect our oceans and coastal communities." - Congresswoman Pingree
It was a thrill to be able to announce her endorsement in front of a cheering crowd of ocean activists, and the Congresswoman spoke passionately about her long time connection to the ocean and its importance to her constituents. We hope that our endorsement and support, and the great momentum we felt at the event will help carry Congresswoman Pingree to a well earned victory and a strong second term. She is and will clearly always be a true ocean champion.
For the oceans,
The Ocean Champions Team
P.S. Help Ocean Champions fight for the oceans by helping to elect strong ocean advocates like Congresswoman Pingree by making a donation today! We can't do it without your support.