Sens. Carper, Coons Join Bipartisan Group of Senators to Announce Formation of Oceans Caucus

WASHINGTON – Today, Sens. Tom Carper and Chris Coons (both D-Del.) joined a bipartisan group of U.S. Senators to form a new Senate Oceans Caucus. The Caucus will work to increase awareness and find common ground in responding to issues facing the oceans and coasts, which support millions of jobs in America and contribute more to the country’s GDP than the entire farm sector, grossing more than $230 billion in 2004. In Delaware, beach tourism contributes over $665,000,000 to the state’s economy each year.

“Delaware enjoys many rewards as a coastal state. Each year, millions of people visit our pristine shores, which helps create jobs and economic activity throughout the state,” said Sen. Carper. “But with those rewards come many challenges. The state’s coast line and coastal communities face serious threats from climate change and rising sea levels – threats that other coastal states face as well. The Senate Oceans Caucus will bring together Members from ocean states to discuss how to work together to sustain and improve our oceans and the communities that depend on them for their livelihood.”

“Our oceans are important not only to the health of our planet, but to the economic vitality of our states,” said Sen. Coons. “Between tourism, recreation, energy, shipping and fishing, a wide variety of industries in Delaware are dependent on the seas. The oceans are part of who we are, and we must do all we can to protect them. That’s why I joined the Oceans Caucus, and why I look forward to working with my colleagues in exploring ways the Senate can help protect our oceans.”

Following today’s inaugural meeting, the members announced that U.S. Senators Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) will serve as Caucus co-chairs. They will work closely with the Chair and Ranking Member of the Commerce Subcommittee on Oceans, Atmosphere, Fisheries, and Coast Guard, Senators Mark Begich (D-AK) and Olympia Snowe (R-ME). Other Caucus members are Daniel Akaka (D-HI), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Scott Brown (R-MA), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Daniel Inouye (D-HI), John Kerry (D-MA), Mary Landrieu (D-LA), Patty Murray (D-WA), and Ron Wyden (D-OR).

Ocean and coastal organizations supporting the Senators’ efforts include: the Consortium for Ocean Leadership, the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA), the Ocean Conservancy, the National Ocean Industries Association (NOIA), the American Association of Port Authorities (AAPA), and Ocean Champions.