Save Our Seas Act of 2018 Signed into Law

The new law extends the NOAA Marine Debris Program for five additional years and authorizes the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to declare severe marine debris events.

President Donald J. Trump has signed into law S. 3508, the Save Our Seas Act of 2018, which seeks to address dumping of trash and debris in the oceans and the Great Lakes.

Trump signed it Oct. 11 and spoke about the scale of the problem before he signed. "Every year, over 8 million tons of garbage is dumped into our beautiful oceans by many countries of the world. That includes China, that includes Japan, and that includes many, many countries. This waste, trash, and debris harms not only marine life, but also fishermen, coastal economies along America's vast stretches. The bad news is it floats toward us. I've seen pictures recently, and some of you have seen them, where there's a vast, tremendous, unthinkable amount of garbage is floating right into our coast, in particular along the West Coast," he said. "And we're charged with removing it, which is a very unfair situation. It comes from other countries very far away. It takes six months and a year to float over, but it gets here, and it's a very unfair situation. It's also unbelievably bad for the oceans.”

He said the Save Our Seas Act will help to address the problem by extending the NOAA Marine Debris Program for five additional years and authorizing the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to declare severe marine debris events. The law will release funds to states for cleanup and for response efforts. "And we will be responding and very strongly," said Trump, adding that the law encourages the executive branch to engage with nations responsible for dumping garbage into the oceans.

"My administration is doing exactly that. For example, the new United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement is the first U.S. trade agreement ever to include commitments by the parties to cooperate to address land- and sea-based pollution and improve waste management," he said.

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