October 5, 2017 - Issue: Vol. 163, No. 160 — Daily Edition115th Congress (2017 - 2018) - 1st Session
HONORING SHELBY O'NEIL; Congressional Record Vol. 163, No. 160
(Extensions of Remarks - October 05, 2017)
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[Extensions of Remarks] [Page E1329] From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov] HONORING SHELBY O'NEIL ______ HON. JIMMY PANETTA of california in the house of representatives Thursday, October 5, 2017 Mr. PANETTA. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to recognize Shelby O'Neil, a dedicated constituent of the 20th Congressional District. At just sixteen years of age, Shelby has found a passion for environmentalism that she has channeled in ways that are truly exceptional. In my district on the central coast of California, we understand the importance of conservation and respect for the natural environment we all enjoy. Among the many parks and recreation areas in the 20th district, our crown jewel is the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. This pristine stretch of coastline, while enjoyed in many ways by residents and tourists alike, also stands as an enduring responsibility to the residents of the Central Coast to ensure its protection. Protected lands such as the sanctuary in our backyard are living postcards that we pass to future generations. It is up to those future generations to shoulder that burden and rise to the responsibilities. Shelby has answered this call, and has risen to this challenge in truly impressive ways. Shelby has demonstrated sincere dedication to the cause of reducing ocean pollution and has built a framework with which to engage her peers, neighbors, and businesses in protecting our local environment. She came to develop a passion for this cause by volunteering at the Monterey Bay Aquarium, a world-renowned institution of marine biological research. During her time as a volunteer, Shelby quickly learned about the threat that pollution poses to the ocean. Determined to take action, Shelby founded her own nonprofit organization, the Junior Ocean Guardians. Under Shelby's leadership, the Junior Ocean Guardians have planned several beach cleanup efforts and done classroom presentations at schools around the Central Coast to raise awareness and build support for the organization's mission of protecting our oceans. In addition, the Junior Ocean Guardians are championing a new initiative called ``No Straw November.'' In my home state of California, a permanent ban has been issued on plastic bags due to the unnecessary pollution they cause in our oceans. However, there is still much work to be done in reducing other sources of plastic pollution. That is why I am so impressed with the Junior Ocean Guardians, who have taken on the goal of ending the use of single use plastic straws, which pose a serious risk to our diverse marine ecosystems on the coast of California. No Straw November represents an effort to raise the public's awareness of the importance of plastic pollution by challenging participants to go an entire month without using a single use plastic straw. While there is much work to be done in the halls of Congress to address environmental pollution, real change begins by changing our habits and behaviors. By challenging her community to make the small sacrifices necessary to sustain the beautiful natural habitats we all enjoy, Shelby is performing a vital civic duty, and her efforts set her apart as an example for her peers. Mr. Speaker, it is my pleasure to add my name to the recognition of Shelby's accomplishments, and wish her the best in her future endeavors. I encourage all of my colleagues in the House to show their support by joining me in taking the No Straw November challenge. ____________________