Ocean Currents » us senate http://blog.oceanconservancy.org News, opinions, photos and facts from Ocean Conservancy Wed, 29 Jul 2015 17:42:00 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.4.2 Senator Booker Can Be a Champion for the Ocean http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2013/10/31/senator-booker-can-be-a-champion-for-the-ocean/ http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2013/10/31/senator-booker-can-be-a-champion-for-the-ocean/#comments Thu, 31 Oct 2013 19:31:45 +0000 Jeff Watters http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/?p=6907

Photo: Nick Harris via Wikimedia Commons

Following his recent win in the special election, Cory Booker was sworn in today as the new junior senator from New Jersey. Booker will be filling the seat formerly held by the late Senator Frank Lautenberg, whose distinguished career in the Senate included extensive work as a champion for the ocean. We want to congratulate the new senator, but also take a moment to highlight some of the important ocean issues that impact his home state of New Jersey and lay out our hopes for his time in the U.S. Senate:

  • A year ago, Superstorm Sandy illustrated the need for maintaining coastal resilience in mitigating the impacts of storms and bringing back communities, especially in New Jersey. Getting funding for restoration projects was surprisingly contentious last winter, but that battle highlights the need for the state to be represented by someone who will fight for the resources New Jersey needs to increase and maintain the resilience of their coastal communities.
  • The president’s National Ocean Policy (NOP) provides the best opportunity yet to create a comprehensive blueprint for our ocean and coastlines, accounting for offshore energy development, recreational and commercial fishing activities, and the improvement and maintenance of our coastal resilience. Supporting the policy and the funding of the Mid-Atlantic Regional Planning Body is essential for the health and well-being of New Jersey’s ocean and coast.
  • Simultaneously, New Jersey needs its new senator to stand strong in defending against attacks from those who oppose improving ocean and coastal management. The most recent example is a damaging House of Representatives amendment to the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) which is currently being debated in Congress. This amendment would restrict some parts of the federal government from participating in smart ocean planning or ecosystem-based management – efforts where its presence is vital.

Senator Booker has large shoes to fill as he begins his career in the Senate. However, by supporting strong policies that stand up for the health of New Jersey’s ocean and coastal environment, Senator Booker can be an environmental leader for both his home state and our nation as a whole.

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A New Ocean Champion in the Senate http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2013/07/17/a-new-ocean-champion-in-the-senate/ http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2013/07/17/a-new-ocean-champion-in-the-senate/#comments Wed, 17 Jul 2013 14:30:29 +0000 Jeff Watters http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/?p=6297

Credit: U.S. Senate Photo Studio

Few members of Congress past or present have done more for ocean conservation than Ed Markey. During four decades in the House of Representatives, then-Congressman Markey fought for and achieved significant environmental victories.

Following his recent win in the Massachusetts special election, we wanted to highlight how the Bay State Democrat, and the newest senator, has been an ocean champion throughout his career:

While it is sad for us at Ocean Conservancy to see the House of Representatives lose one of its true ocean champions, we congratulate Ed Markey on his new position in the Senate and look forward to him continuing the fight for effective ocean protection and conservation now in his new role in the Senate.

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Genetically engineered salmon: Shouldn’t our nation’s fish agency have a say in this? http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2012/05/24/genetically-engineered-salmon-shouldnt-our-nations-fish-agency-have-a-say-in-this/ http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2012/05/24/genetically-engineered-salmon-shouldnt-our-nations-fish-agency-have-a-say-in-this/#comments Thu, 24 May 2012 18:04:47 +0000 George Leonard http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/?p=773

Photo: Jumping Coho Salmon by LouLou Beavers

Within the last hour, there was a floor vote on an amendment to S.3187, the Food and Drug Administration Safety and Innovation Act, put forth by Senator Lisa Murkowski from the state of Alaska. Why should you care? Because this has big implications for the future of fish in the ocean and on our dinner plates. To our disappointment, the amendment did not pass. But nearly 50 percent of the Senate supported Senator Murkowski’s efforts to protect our wild fish from the risks of genetically engineered fish. That alone is a strong statement.

If you aren’t up on the controversy, the FDA is considering approving the first ever, genetically engineered animal for human consumption. This animal is a fish – an engineered version of farmed Atlantic salmon – and that is why Ocean Conservancy and my ocean colleagues have been leading an effort to ensure all the hard questions are asked and answered before the fish is allowed on the market. Today, a group of environmental organizations wrote in support of Sen. Murkowski’s amendment. (.PDF)

You can help us in this fight by joining Ocean Conservancy and the Just Label It campaign to tell the FDA to require labeling for all GE food.

FDA’s existing regulatory structure fails to take a hard look at this first approval. We are worried about what would happen if the GE fish escapes and enter ocean ecosystems. There are unresolved questions about competition with wild fish for food and space, and even interbreeding with wild fish.

This is why the idea behind Senator Murkowski’s amendment is so important. It would ensure that the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) – our nation’s marine fisheries management agency – has a definitive decision-making role in the process of approving genetically engineered salmon and any other GE fish that might follow in its footsteps. Given that NOAA is the primary federal agency with the management experience and scientific expertise to properly assess the environmental and economic risks of GE fish, we believe it is only common-sense that NOAA has a definitive decision-making role.

As you might imagine, genetic engineering of fish is a new endeavor that demands caution and thorough assessment. The public has repeatedly expressed concern about GE salmon; poll after poll has revealed deep discomfort amongst broad sectors of the population about eating GE animals. Given the potential risks to our ocean environment, it is essential that Congress ensures that the right agencies with the right expertise are asking the right questions.

We are pleased that a large number of Senators agree. It just makes sense that our nation’s fish agency has a say in this fish.

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