Grijalva Hails New Labor and Environmental Standards Passed in COMPETES Act
Tucson, AZ Chair Raúl M. Grijalva (D-Ariz.) issued the following statement on House passage of the COMPETES Act, which includes provisions that tackle illegal fishing and slave labor in the seafood supply chain, expand renewable energy, address the illegal wildlife trade, bolster marine science and strengthen protection of marine life on the high seas.
“America’s greatest strength is the promise of economic opportunity for all. This bill reinforces that promise by ensuring that today’s workers can make a living in a safe, clean and fair environment that respects the dignity of working people, as well as the environment they live in. The single greatest challenge facing the world is climate change. We have to demonstrate that the United States has the will and the means necessary to face this existential threat while still providing for our citizens. This bill is an excellent step toward accomplishing that.”
The United States is the largest seafood importer in the world. More than 10 percent of imported seafood is the product of illegal fishing, which undercuts U.S. fishers who follow fair labor practices and use sustainable fishing methods. The bill strengthens the competitiveness of U.S. fishers by improving regulations and the tracking of illegal fishing and fish products produced with slave labor. The bill also builds upon U.S. efforts to address and eliminate wildlife trafficking, which causes biodiversity decline, funds multinational criminal activity, and spreads disease.
Other provisions in the bill boost ocean science and conservation, expanding our ability to protect strategic marine resources and train the next generation of ocean scientists. The bill helps the U.S. maintain world leadership in responsible environmental use and stewardship of ecosystems and wildlife, especially with new frontiers opening in Arctic and deep-sea environments
The legislation also makes critical investments in renewable energy. According to the United Nations Environment Programme, no nation has invested more in renewable energy capacity over the last decade than China, with the United States in second place. The renewable energy provisions in the COMPETES Act will close that gap by expanding clean energy development on public lands and waters. It also codifies the Biden administration’s goal of reaching 30 gigawatts of offshore wind by 2030 and ends an arbitrary ban on future offshore wind leasing put in place by the Trump administration.
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