Surfrider leaders from Oregon’s Coos Bay, Newport and Portland Chapters descended upon Washington DC last week to make their voices heard on Capital Hill on key issues from plastic pollution to climate change, public lands and water quality. They joined over 150 Surfrider members, industry leaders and surf ambassadors for our annual Coastal Recreational Hill Day to meet with federal leaders from around the nation about ways to protect our ocean, waves, and beaches. An incredible collective event for Surfrider and Oregon was well represented with stellar leadership!

Oregon’s hill day delegation pauses in front of the Capitol building for a photo between meetings

On February 26th, our full delegation held over 140 Senate and House office meetings to urge action on these important issues affecting our coasts and oceans. Chapter leaders and volunteers from Oregon, Mike Harrington, Sarah Cavrak, Gina Avalos, David Gaskill, Janeen Bittman and Steve Shipsey held meetings with all of our House and Senate elected Congresspeople – Rep. Bonamici, Rep. Schrader, Rep. Blumenauer, Rep. DeFazio, and Senators Wyden and Merkley. Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici (D. 1) kicked off our breakfast briefing to our entire national delegation with a moving and inspirational speech on protecting our coasts and oceans to help fire up our volunteers headed out for the day.

Oregon delegates with Congresswoman Bonamici following a meeting in her office

Surfrider and our partners also participated in high-level meetings with White House officials and the Senate Democrats Committee on the Climate Crisis to advocate for federal action to protect our coasts and ocean. 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.

Professional surfers and ambassadors Leah Dawson and Greg Long with Senator Bob Menendez (NJ)

Surfrider also organized an industry reception in the Dirksen Senate Building to highlight the impact of climate change on coastal recreation across the United States. Speakers included Surfrider CEO Dr. Chad Nelsen, Surf Ambassadors Leah Dawson and Greg Long, and BAPPC Founder Vipe Desai. As part of the reception, Surfrider honored Senator Bob Menendez (NJ) and Congressman Francis Rooney (FL) for outstanding legislative leadership to address climate change and protect our coastal waters.

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.

DC Coastal Recreation Hill Day 2020

Check out more photos from our Oregon delegation’s trip here! 

Fortunately, you don’t need to travel to Washington D.C. to make your voice heard on federal issues. Please see the links below to learn more and easily contact your members of Congress!

To read Surfrider’s federal priorities click here.

To make your voice heard visit our take action page.