WASHINGTON, D.C.— The U.S. Senate voted unanimously on Jan. 12 to pass the Save Our Seas (SOS) 2.0 Act, S. 1982, legislation introduced by Senators Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) , Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska), and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) to address the plastic debris crisis threatening coastal economies and harming marine life. SOS 2.0 builds on the success of the Save Our Seas Act, introduced by Senators Sullivan and Whitehouse, and signed into law by President Trump in October 2018.
The Save Our Seas 2.0 Act is composed of three main pieces:
∙Strengthening the United States’ domestic marine debris response capability with a Marine Debris Foundation, a genius prize for innovation, and new research to tackle the issue.
∙Enhancing global engagement to combat marine debris, including formalizing U.S. policy on international cooperation, enhancing federal agency outreach to other countries, and exploring the potential for a new international agreement on the challenge.
∙Improving domestic infrastructure to prevent marine debris through new grants for and studies of waste management and mitigation.
The first Save Our Seas Act reauthorized the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Marine Debris Program through FY2022 at $10 million annually and implemented additional measures to improve other domestic marine debris programs.