Update: The bill was signed into law by President Bush on December 22, 2006.Â
The outgoing 109th Congress passed a bill last Friday that will step up action in preventing and cleaning up marine debris in the country. The Marine Debris Research, Prevention and Reduction Act (S. 362) was a bipartisan sponsored bill that now awaits a signature by President Bush. The bill will establish a marine debris program within the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) for prevention, monitoring and removal of marine debris. It will also increase the efforts of the Coast Guard in prevention and enforcement, improve coordination of different federal agencies, and establish a federal information clearinghouse on marine debris. U.S. Newswire release.
The Ocean Conservancy applauds Congress for completing work on the Marine Debris Research, Prevention and Reduction Act (S. 362). The Senate approved the bill Friday, clearing it for consideration by the president. This bipartisan bill, sponsored by Senators Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii) and Ted Stevens (R-Alaska), represents an enormous victory in the effort not only to clear our ocean and coasts from damaging marine debris, but in preventing the debris as well.
"Marine debris such as discarded fishing lines and nets is responsible for killing or injuring thousands of marine mammals, fish and birds every year," said Vikki Spruill, president of The Ocean Conservancy. "This legislation helps prevent marine-life entanglement by addressing some of the major sources of dangerous marine debris. It will expand the existing body of science, contribute to our understanding of its sources and lead to more effective prevention."
Marine debris has been responsible for the deaths and injuries of thousands of marine mammals, fish and birds every year.
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