Cousteau Focuses on Obama's Ocean Policy

The grandson of Jacques-Yves Cousteau is bringing the ocean's issues to the halls of Congress.

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By Maura Judkis, Washington Whispers

Washington may be about 90 miles from the Atlantic Ocean, but that hasn't stopped a member of the world's most famous deep-sea-diving family from taking up residence in the nation's capital. That's because Philippe Cousteau Jr.—grandson of Jacques-Yves Cousteau—is bringing the ocean's issues to the halls of Congress. "I've gotten more and more involved on the Hill once I testified in Congress about issues on offshore drilling a few months ago," Cousteau, 29, tells Whispers. "Being on the Hill and being able to work with members and pass effective legislation that has the best long-term interests of this country at heart—I really enjoyed that."

While busy with his shows for the Discovery Channel and Animal Planet, Cousteau, with his sister, Alexandra—both head Washington-based EarthEcho International—are newly focused on the oceans policy President Obama is set to unveil next month. The administration's effort kicked off recently with a national coastal tour by top officials charged with writing a plan to "zone" parts of the ocean for allocation of resources among special interests like energy development and fishing. "There will be a lot of us looking at how to make effective legislation come out of those reports," says the next-generation explorer.

Cousteau—who lives in nearby Pentagon City, Va., and dines at the city's farmer- and ocean-friendly restaurants—has set a goal of keeping partisan politics at bay from the oceans plan, something Obama hasn't been able to do on his big agenda items. "The worst thing that ever happened in this country is when the environment became a red or blue issue," he says. "We all need clean air and clean water, folks. Get over yourselves—I don't care if you're a Republican or Democrat."

Illustration by Ed Wexler for USN&WR

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