HONORING SHELBY O'NEIL; Congressional Record Vol. 163, No. 160
(Extensions of Remarks - October 05, 2017)

Text available as:

Formatting necessary for an accurate reading of this text may be shown by tags (e.g., <DELETED> or <BOLD>) or may be missing from this TXT display. For complete and accurate display of this text, see the PDF.

[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 
   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.