Law signed to help combat waste plaguing Alaska, US waters

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WASHINGTON (KTUU) - Some legislation presented by bipartisan senators from Alaska and Rhode Island was signed into law by the president Thursday, with the hope of combating ocean waste issues.

Junior Sen. Dan Sullivan (R-AK) and Sen. Sheldon Whirehouse (D-RI) went to the Oval Office, where Pres. Donald Trump signed the Save Our Seas Act into law.

The law, which can be read in full online, is designed to address the global marine debris crisis.

In a statement issued by Sen. Sullivan, his spokesperson said the SOS legislation would "boost the federal government’s domestic and international response to ocean waste, and allow the NOAA Administrator to declare severe marine debris events and authorize additional funds to states, like Alaska, for cleanup and response efforts."

The Alaska and Rhode Island senators represent coastal states where sea debris is a major concern.

The debris portion of the law covers such issues as specifically the source of marine debris, as well as how federal agencies could tackle so-called "severe marine debris events" when and where they happen.

Following the signing of the bill into law, Pres. Trump took questions from reporters, where he underscored the importance of the SOS Act.

"Every year, over 8 million tons of garbage is dumped into our beautiful oceans by many countries of the world," Trump said. "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."

Pres. Trump also said the bill was "a tough one," though it had unanimous support on both sides of the aisle in the Senate.

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