While the rest of the country was still dissecting the results from election night, a delegation of Surfrider members and staff visited our nation’s capital to lobby for the protection of oceans, waves, and beaches. Meeting with Senators and their staff in ten senate offices, the Surfrider team focused on several key priorities including: funding for the BEACH Act (water quality testing), opposing new offshore drilling, support for the National Ocean Policy, integrated water management, and legislation to address plastic pollution in the ocean.
The good news: while the politics of ocean conservation are as challenging as ever, our nation is fortunate to have some great ocean champions in congress. These leaders need to hear from constituents who support their efforts to pass legislation and provide sufficient funding. Meanwhile, for the larger segment of congress that does not prioritize (or opposes) ocean and coastal stewardship, we need to redouble our efforts to reach these targets through phone calls, meetings, and letters.
Participants in the meetings with senate offices included: Mara Dias, Water Program Manager; Stefanie Sekich-Quinn, California Policy Manager; Maggie Coulter, Legal Fellow; Eleanor Hines, Chair of Washington’s Northwest Straits Chapter; Paul Herzog, Ocean Friendly Gardens Program Coordinator; and Pete Stauffer, Ocean Program Manager.
For those interested in joining future lobby days in Washington D.C., please mark your calendars for the Blue Vision Summit scheduled for May 11-14, 2015. The Summit will include a Hill Lobby Day with hundreds of coastal advocates from around the country. If you are interested in learning more, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or look for information on Chapternet in January.
Finally, we want to give a big shout out to Surfrider's D.C. Chapter who graciously hosted us at their monthly chapter meeting. It was great to learn about their ongoing efforts including their Ban the Foam campaign.