“Without Healthy Oceans, We Do Not Have a Healthy Planet”
Senator Murkowski Launches Bipartisan Oceans Caucus with Co-Chair Senator Whitehouse
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Senator Lisa Murkowski joined Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) today to open up the discussions and mission of the newly launched U.S. Senate Oceans Caucus (SOC). Senator Begich and fifteen additional members of the SOC will also participate to create better informed and timely policy for America's coasts, estuaries and open oceans.
After the SOC meeting concluded earlier today, Senator Murkowski shared her thoughts with the assembled media:
"This is an opportunity for us to share the expertise that we have coming from coastal states, but also to know and understand and learn.
"As Senator Whitehouse pointed out, we know less about our oceans than we do about outer space. We know less about our oceans than really is acceptable, because without healthy oceans, we do not have a healthy planet.
"In Alaska, we tend to brag a little bit about who we are and where we are. But I will tell my colleagues as we argue about who has more ocean around them, Alaska has more than any of you by twice. We have two oceans that surround us - we've got the Arctic and the Pacific. "Throw in the Bering Sea and the Chukchi Sea and the Beaufort Sea, and we pay a lot of attention to our oceans as we should. We do so not only for a strong fishing economy but for the subsistence lifestyle of so many Alaskans, and also as a definition and measure of who we are as people up north.
"I'm honored to be working with a great number of colleagues, truly focused, on an issue that has for far too long been overlooked."
Today's inaugural meeting resulted in the members agreeing on the goals for the SOC:
· Facilitate congressional conversations about the country's coasts and the governing policies.
· Educate members and staff on ocean and coastal policy and scientific research.
· Strive to find common ground on responses to the challenges facing our oceans and coasts.
The Caucus will meet at least four times each Congress and, where appropriate, explore and pursue new ocean and coastal policies, and create new incentives for effective policy implementation.
Other members joining the Senate Oceans Caucus are Senators Daniel Akaka (D-HI), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Scott Brown (R-MA), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Tom Carper (D-DE), Chris Coons (D-DE), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Daniel Inouye (D-HI), John Kerry (D-MA), Mary Landrieu (D-LA), Patty Murray (D-WA), Olympia Snowe (R-ME) and Ron Wyden (D-OR).