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Regional Ocean Partnership Act Receives Bipartisan Support

The Regional Ocean Partnership Act is one step closer to becoming a law

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© Rafeed Hussain

Updated on July 9, 2021

As part of June National Ocean Month, the Senate Commerce Committee voted to pass the Regional Ocean Partnership Act (S.1894) introduced by Senator Roger Wicker (R-MS). Passage of the bill through the bi-partisan committee means it can now be voted on by the full Senate, and we are asking the Senate to advance this important legislation.

What is a Regional Ocean Partnership?

Regional Ocean Partnerships are regional organizations that collaborate with states, Tribes, federal agencies and other stakeholders to address ocean and coastal issues of common concern. These partnerships have operated in several regions for over a decade, working to address ocean issues unique to the region, including:

  • Promoting sustainability through science-based management.
  • Coordinating solutions to coastal hazards.
  • Creating publicly available regional ocean-data portals.
  • Providing a common venue to discuss management needs and challenges like offshore wind and coastal resilience.

Passage of this bill would formalize the role of Regional Ocean Partnerships as collaborative partners with federal agencies and secure more predictable funding to advance collaborative regional ocean efforts.

What does the Regional Ocean Partnership Act do?

The Regional Ocean Partnership Act supports governor-created Regional Ocean Partnerships like the Northeast Regional Ocean Council, Mid-Atlantic Regional Council on the Ocean, West Coast Ocean Alliance and Gulf of Mexico Alliance. Importantly, the bill now includes funds to directly support Tribal engagement with Regional Ocean Partnerships.

The United States Senate is not the only place where Regional Ocean Partnerships are being noticed for the value they provide our ocean and coastal communities. In the House of Representatives, Congressman Crist (D-FL), with three additional co-sponsors, both Republican and Democratic, introduced similar legislation in support of Regional Ocean Partnerships.

Both Congressman Crist and Senator Wicker have recognized the value of Regional Ocean Partnerships that serve their states and constituents, and the two came together to develop their respective bills to advance these partnerships nationwide. The Regional Ocean Partnership Act  is an excellent example of bipartisanship to support our oceans and coasts.

Ocean Conservancy has actively engaged with Regional Ocean Partnerships across the nation and fully supports these organizations as important venues to address today’s most challenging ocean and coastal issues. Their unique position within the region allows these partnerships to actively coordinate across state, Tribal and local governments as well as with ocean stakeholders where they live and work, including marine industries, scientists and conservation groups like us.

We thank the Senate Commerce Committee, Senator Wicker and Congressman Crist for taking critical steps towards the goal of passing this important bill into law.

You Can Help!

We need YOUR help to make sure the Regional Ocean Partnerships Act passes through Congress and becomes law.

You can help the Regional Ocean Partnership Act become a law—please tell your senators to vote “yes” and pass it on the Senate floor. Please take action today.

 

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