Washington Surfrider Chapter leaders and staff joined over 150 Surfrider members from around the country, as well as industry leaders and surf ambassadors who traveled to Washington D.C. on February 26-28 to meet with federal leaders about ways to protect our ocean, waves, and beaches. Participants visited 145 Senate and House offices to urge immediate action on climate change, plastic pollution, water quality and other key issues affecting our coasts and ocean.
Washington Chapter leaders had great meetings with Congresswoman Schrier and staff, staff from Congressman Larsen’s office, staff from Senator Cantwell’s office, staff from Congresswoman Jayapal’s office, and Congressman Kilmer and staff. These discussions were a timely opportunity to remind our federal leaders that over 100 million Americans visit the beach each year supporting 2.4 million jobs and contributing over $124 billion to our nation’s gross domestic product.
A major priority of Hill Day was demanding federal action to address the climate crisis that is damaging our coasts and ocean. Hill Day participants urged their representatives in Congress to support legislation to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, stop new oil and gas drilling, and help communities adapt to sea level rise and extreme weather events. During meetings, Surfrider presented federal leaders with surfboards and letters signed by thousands of citizens and businesses asking for immediate action on climate change.
Another major priority of Hill Day was building federal leadership to tackle the plastic pollution crisis in our ocean. Hill Day attendees urged Senate and House members to co-sponsor the Break Free From Plastic Pollution Act that Surfrider recently helped introduce to stop the flow of plastics into the ocean. Surfrider’s Jennie Romer also provided formal testimony to the House Natural Resources Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests, and Public Lands in support of legislation to restore a ban on plastic water bottles in National Parks.
For some this was their first time meeting with their congressional representatives, and for others it was their first time in our nation’s capitol. It was an amazing experience for all, that will hopefully lead to strengthened relationships towards are ocean and coast conservation efforts moving forward. While it’s a challenge to go all the way to Washington DC, the great news is that there are many ways to get involved in your district here at home, see links below for more information.