Sens. Edward Markey and Elizabeth Warren will co-sponsor the SAVE Right Whales Act, filed June 7 by four other Atlantic Coast senators.
“Senator Markey wanted to ensure that all of the stakeholders in Massachusetts that would be impacted by the legislation were briefed on the bill, understood its provisions, and had the opportunity to share their perspectives before he committed to co-sponsorship,” a spokesman for the senator said.
On Monday, Markey and Warren both became co-sponsors of the bill joining Democrats from New Jersey, Delaware, New Jersey, Florida and New York.
U.S. Rep. Rep. William Keating, D-Mass., introduced a similar bill in the House on June 7 with three other representatives.
The legislation would allocate $5 million annually in grants through 2028 for conservation programs, and the development of new technology or other methods to reduce harm to right whales from fishing gear entanglements and ship collisions. Grants could promote cooperation with foreign governments, affected local communities, small businesses, others in the private sector or nongovernment groups. The National Marine Fisheries Service has funded North Atlantic right whale protections at more than $8 million annually since fiscal year 2009, with another $128,000 released last year with announcement of an unusual mortality event after 17 right whales were observed dead in Canadian and U.S. waters.
The Massachusetts Lobstermen’s Association gave its nod of approval on June 20 to the SAVE Act. The Cape Cod Commercial Fishermen’s Alliance has endorsed the bill as well.