Monday, April 2, 2018

“Be the Sea Change” at Liberty Science Center and Beyond


Clean Ocean Action will be visiting the Liberty Science Center to celebrate Conservation Week on Saturday and Sunday, April 7th and 8th.  In addition to an information table that guests can visit, we will be sharing our “Be the Sea Change” presentation twice each day to kick off the campaign.



This year, we are delighted to welcome Katy Coyle who is assisting with the 2018 “Be the Sea Change” program.  Katy comes to Clean Ocean Action with a background in social work and pre-school education.  Welcome Katy!  For information about how “Be the Sea Change” can come to your local elementary school, contact Katy at Coastal@cleanoceanaction.org.

A Snowy World Water Week

March 22, World Water Day, is designated by the United Nations as a day to focus attention on the water in our world. This year many schools celebrated the arrival of spring and World Water Week by playing in the snow since schools were closed due to yet another Nor’Easter! 
Luckily the snow didn’t fall until after the first ever Watershed Mindfulness Summit, “Love Your River” at Markham Place Middle School in Little Silver on March 19th.  Clean Ocean Action partnered with the Math and Science Curriculum Supervisor, Meredith Adams, and her enthusiastic team of 5th grade teachers to facilitate three learning stations where 90 students participated in experiments and activities to get hands-on experience with the impact humans have on their watershed. 

Plastic Free Waters Partnership Meeting in NYC Last Week

Fifth graders from PS15 in Brooklyn showcased their EPA-grant funded project on litter cleanup at the Plastic Free Waters Partnership meeting. 

Clean Ocean Action is part of a larger regional coalition called the “Plastic Free Waters Partnership” (PFWP) which aims to reduce plastic and microplastic debris in all waterbodies primarily in the NJ/NY region.  COA leads two PFWP workgroups focused on Straws and Microplastics in addition to being on the steering committee.  Last week, COA’s Alison McCarthy, Catie Tobin, and Dr. Swarna Muthukrishnan attended PFWP’s first meeting for 2018, which was hosted by EPA Region II Headquarters in NYC.  The meeting showcased an EPA-grant funded project on litter cleanup and characterization conducted by a group of fifth graders from PS15 in Brooklyn.  This was followed by a panel discussion on Environmental Justice issues in debris management and other work group sessions to discuss ongoing activities and plan the next steps for 2018.

NY/NJ Elected Officials Take Action Against Offshore Drilling


New Jersey and New York have ramped up opposition at the federal, state and local levels, and COA is tracking and compiling these outstanding actions.  Check out the list of federal, state and local actions on the OCS page of COA’s website. If you know of any actions missing or if there are new actions taken, please contact advocate@cleanoceanaction.org or 732-872-0111. Also, if your town or county is not listed, please urge them to do so; you can use COA’s sample resolution.




Here is some recent news:
                    The Shore Tourism and Ocean Protection (STOP) from Offshore Oil and Gas Act (S-258) passed unanimously in the Senate on March 26, 2018! This bipartisan legislation will ban offshore drilling and infrastructure in New Jersey’s state waters. It awaits signature from Governor Murphy, who is expected to sign it soon.

                    NJ Congressmen sent a bi-partisan letter led by Congressman Frank Pallone, Jr (NJ-6), including US Representatives Albio Sires, Bill Pascrell, Jr., Frank LoBiondo, Josh Gottheimer, Donald Norcross, Bonnie Watson Coleman and Donald M. Payne, Jr. on March 16, 2018, urging the Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agency Co-Chairs not to fund the 2019-2024 OCS Leasing Program.  Congressman Christopher H. Smith (NJ-4) also sent a similar letter.  This effort could help to stop BOEM from continuing to process offshore development.

                    BOEM rejected NJ Congressman LoBiondo’s request for a public hearing in Cape May.  This is an unfair government practice since BOEM granted a NY Congressman a hearing after making a similar request. 
            
                    NY Governor Andrew Cuomo and Former US Vice President Al Gore coordinated a press conference on March 9, 2018, to denounce offshore drilling and promote offshore wind.  While offshore wind holds promise it must be sited appropriately to protect marine life and navigational needs, and implemented correctly.

                    Over 35 towns in NJ and 3 in NY have passed resolutions opposing offshore drilling.

                    Assemblyman Wirths switches vote in favor of the STOP (Shore Tourism Ocean Protection) Assembly Bill A839: 72 to 1 – almost unanimous!

                    NJ Governor Phil Murphy letter on March 9, 2018 opposing offshore drilling off the Atlantic.

                    US Representative Christopher H. Smith (NJ-4) Testimonial letter submitted on March 9, 2018 asking for public hearing on offshore drilling.

                    US Senator’s Letter on March 5, 2018 requesting an extension to the comment period.

                    New Jersey federal and state elected officials attending Ocean City Music Pier press event on February 26th.

                   Atlantic Coast Republicans met with Zinke on Tuesday, February 27th. Although NJ Congressmen, LoBiondo, Lance, MacArthur and Smith left feeling optimistic, a final decision has not been reached. We need to keep the pressure on! Submit comments to BOEM.

                    New Jersey federal and state elected officials attending COA’s February 14th press conference.

                    US Representative Frank Pallone Jr. (NJ-6) letter from US Representatives on February 12, 2018 against plans for Seismic Testing off New Jersey’s coast.

                    New York legislative letter on February 8, 2018 to exempt New York State from offshore drilling

                    New York press conference at the Long Island Aquarium January 26, 2018.
  
                    NY Governor Andrew Cuomo letter on January 15, 2018 opposing offshore drilling.

                    US Representative Tom MacArthur (NJ-3) meeting with Ryan Zinke, Secretary of the Interior.
  
                    NJ Legislative letter on January 9, 2018 against offshore drilling.

                    NJ Letter on January 5, 2018 opposing offshore drilling.