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Thursday, December 12, 2013

Senator's environmental bill may benefit his wife -- By Michael Bastasch, The Daily Caller

Democratic senator’s environmental bill could benefit his wifeRhode Island Democratic Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse has introduced a bill that would give funds to environmental groups to study and restore U.S. oceans and coastlines. A major beneficiary of the law could be an environmental group with ties to Whitehouse’s wife.

In April, Whitehouse reintroduced the National Endowment for the Oceans, Coasts, and Great Lakes Act, which would create a grant program for states, environmental groups and universities to study and restore oceans and coastlines across the country.

“This legislation will help preserve and restore the full range of economic, ecological, cultural, and recreational benefits our oceans and coasts provide,” Whitehouse said in a statement at the time. “The consequences of ocean acidification, dead zones, oil spills, and weakened natural defenses are being felt in coastal communities now, and we must act to reverse these trends.”

The legislation has been backed by the Ocean Conservatory, an environmental group, which could potentially benefit from the creation of a grant program for ocean conservation.

The Whitehouse bill would fund non-profit groups and governments that engage in what is called “Coastal and Marine Spatial Planning.” The Conservancy focuses on marine spatial planning.

The Conservancy has hired Whitehouse’s wife Sandra Whitehouse to work on the issue as an independent contractor in the past.

According to the group’s 990 forms for 2011, Sandra Whitehouse was paid $182,000 to work on “Marine Spatial Planning.”

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