Senator Daniel Inouye makes remarks at the U.S.-Japan Council Opening Reception on Capitol Hill on October 6th, 2011. Photo: Us Japan Council
Late yesterday evening, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid took to the Senate floor to announce the loss of Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, one of the ocean’s true legislative champions. Inouye passed away last night as the second longest serving senator in history – leaving a long legacy of good works for the ocean.
As a senator and former representative from the country’s only island state, Inouye championed the causes of the ocean that surrounded and helped sustain the culture and economy of Hawaii. As one of Capitol Hill’s true bipartisan senators, he wielded his influence to work across the aisle and help pass landmark legislation for ocean health.
Inouye was an early champion in the fight against ocean trash, serving as a lead sponsor to introduce and eventually pass the Marine Debris Act. He also led and co-sponsored the most recent reauthorization of the bill.
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A marine debris monitoring project on Sand Island’s North Beach, Midway Atoll. Credit: Nick Mallos
From the shores of Washington State to the Congressional floor in Washington, D.C., the prospect of increasing tsunami debris on West Coast beaches has grabbed the attention of the public, the media, scientists and decision-makers alike. However, tsunami debris—an unavoidable, unpreventable disaster—is a small part of the much larger issue of marine debris that’s choking our ocean and littering our beaches, and with it comes the need for continued resources and political support.
That’s why it’s pivotal for members to vote to reauthorize the Marine Debris Research, Prevention, and Reduction Act when it hits the House floor today. It is a necessary first step that will enable Congress to work with the Senate to ensure NOAA has the proper funding it needs to combat ocean trash and tsunami debris washing onto our beaches. Continue reading »