Committee Passes Legislation to Reauthorize the Sea Grant Program and Research and Monitor Ocean Acidification
(Washington, DC) – Today, the House Committee on Science and Technology approved two bills, H.R. 4174, the Federal Ocean Acidification Research and Monitoring Act of 2007, and and H.R. 5618, the National Sea Grant College Program Amendments Act of 2008.
H.R. 4174, the FOARAM Act was introduced by Rep. Tom Allen (D-ME) on November 14, 2007. This bipartisan legislation directs an Interagency Committee on Ocean Science and Technology to oversee the planning, establishment, and coordination of an interagency research and monitoring program to improve the understanding of the potential impacts of ocean acidification on marine ecosystems and establish techniques to conserve marine ecosystems.
"This Committee has continued to be a leader in the discussion of climate change and its consequences," stated Chairman Bart Gordon (D-TN). "Ocean acidification is yet another phenomenon caused by the increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide, and it poses a significant threat to marine organisms and marine ecosystems. Earlier this month, the Energy and Environment Subcommittee heard from a distinguished panel of ocean and atmospheric scientists, who testified in strong support of this legislation."
"What’s happening under water today could have a cataclysmic effect on millions of people on dry land tomorrow. Our oceans provide food and economic security for countless numbers of people, and they’re slowly being choked by water that is becoming more and more acidic," said Research and Science Education Subcommittee Chairman Brian Baird (D – WA). "This legislation takes an important step into fully identifying the scope of the problem we’re facing. Only then will we be able to begin the search for solutions."
The Sea Grant program promotes the understanding, conservation, and management of our ocean, coastal, and Great Lakes resources by state and federal governments. H.R. 5618, introduced by Rep. Madeleine Bordallo (D- GU), would implement the changes recommended by the National Academy of Sciences 2006 review of the Sea Grant Program. This legislation would increase the funding levels and the interaction between the National Sea Grant Office and the individual state programs and would improve programmatic performance reviews.
"The research, education, and extension programs of Sea Grant have been very effective in training future scientists and resource managers, providing education to the general public, generating information to support sound resource management, and delivering applied research results to the people who rely on our coastal areas and the Great Lakes for their livelihoods," added Gordon.
Next, these bills will be sent to the House floor for further consideration.