FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
SANTA CLARA COUNTY – Santa Clara County Supervisor and former State Senator Joe Simitian has been named “Ocean Hero of the Year” by Save Our Shores, a citizen-action organization dedicated to protecting the marine environment throughout California's Central Coast. Simitian was presented with the award on Sunday evening at Save Our Shores’ sold-out annual Toast to the Coast celebration in Aptos.
Save Our Shores Executive Director Laura Kasa said that as an elected official, Simitian “has done everything in his power to clean up California’s oceans.”
“I’m gratified by the recognition from Save Our Shores,” said Simitian, “particularly given Save Our Shores’35-year history as a coastal protector.”
Among Simitian’s most significant and successful legislative efforts to protect the California coast:
- The California Clean Coast Act (SB 771, 2005), which prohibits offshore dumping of sewage and other waste by cruise ships and other ocean-going vessels. Pursuant to SB 771, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recently designated the entire coast of California a No Discharge Zone (NDZ), the largest protected stretch of coast in the county.
- The Sustainable Oceans Act (SB 201, 2006), which made California the first state in the nation to adopt comprehensive regulations on fish farming (aquaculture) in coastal waters.
- The Coastal Ecosystems Protection Act (SB 497, 2006), which imposed the toughest standards in the nation on ballast water discharged from ships, which can carry marine plants and animals from around the globe. Absent these protections, invasive species discharged into California water can wreak havoc on our bay and coastal waterways at a tremendous environmental and financial cost.
- The Delta Reform Act of 2009 (SB 1 / 7X, 2009) provided for the first time that protection of the Delta’s fragile environment would stand as a “co-equal goal” with water supply, and established both the Delta Conservancy and the Delta Stewardship Council to that end.
In accepting his Ocean Hero award, Simitian said, “California’s coast is not just an environmental resource, it’s an economic and recreational resource as well – all the more reason to protect it.”