Legislation

OCEAN EXPLORATION & OBSERVING BILLS

Signed into Law by Congress

HR3080 Water Resources Reform and Development Act of 2014. Sponsor: Rep Shuster, Bill [R-PA-9]  (Introduced 09/11/2013); 06/10/2014 Became Public Law No: 113-121.

SEC. 4014. OCEAN AND COASTAL RESILIENCY.
(a) In General.–The Secretary shall conduct studies to determine the feasibility of carrying out Corps of Engineers projects in coastal zones to enhance ocean and coastal ecosystem resiliency.
(b) Study.–In carrying out the study under subsection (a), the Secretary shall–
(1) as appropriate, coordinate with the heads of other appropriate Federal agencies, the Governors and other chief executive officers of the coastal states, nonprofit organizations, and other interested parties;
(2) identify Corps of Engineers projects in coastal zones for enhancing ocean and coastal ecosystem resiliency based on an assessment of the need and opportunities for, and feasibility of, the projects;

HR152 Making supplemental appropriations for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2013, to improve and streamline disaster assistance for Hurricane Sandy, and for other purposes. Sponsor: Rep Rogers, Harold [R-KY-5] (Introduced 01/04/2013) Latest Action: 01/30/2013 Became Public Law No: 113-2.

  • This Bill cuts across federal agencies.  Chapter 2 focuses on recovery funds for NOAA, and assigned set amounts of funding to restore ocean observing infrastructure as follows:

For an additional amount for “Operations, Research, and Facilities”, $290,000,000 (reduced by $150,000,000) to remain available until September 30, 2014, as follows:
(1) $50,000,000 for mapping, charting, geodesy services and marine debris surveys for coastal States impacted by Hurricane Sandy;
(2) $7,000,000 to repair and replace ocean observing and coastal monitoring assets damaged by Hurricane Sandy;
(3) $3,000,000 to provide technical assistance to support State assessments of coastal impacts of Hurricane Sandy;
(4) $25,000,000 to improve weather forecasting and hurricane intensity forecasting capabilities, to include data assimilation from ocean observing platforms and satellites;
(5) $50,000,000 for laboratories and cooperative institutes research activities associated with sustained observations weather research programs, and ocean and coastal research; and
(6) $5,000,000 for necessary expenses related to fishery disasters during calendar year 2012 that were declared by the Secretary of Commerce as a direct result of impacts from Hurricane Sandy…

HR 14 Federal Ocean Acidification Research and Monitoring Act (FORAM) of 2009

  • To provide for ocean acidification research and monitoring, and for other purposes.

HR 367 Integrated Coastal and Ocean Observation System Act of 2009

  • To establish a national integrated system of ocean, coastal, and Great Lakes observing systems, and for other purposes.

S 171 Coastal and Ocean Observation System Act of 2009

  • A bill to develop and maintain an integrated system of coastal and ocean observations, for the Nation’s coasts, oceans, and Great Lakes.

S 172 NOAA Ocean Exploration and Undersea Research Program Act of 2009

  • A bill to establish a coordinated national ocean exploration program within the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and for other purposes.

S 173 Federal Ocean Acidification Research and Monitoring Act (FORAM) of 2009

  • A bill to establish an interagency committee to develop an ocean acidification research and monitoring plan and to establish an ocean acidification program within NOAA.

S 174 Ocean and Coastal Mapping Integration Act

  • A bill to establish a coordinated and comprehensive Federal ocean and coastal mapping program.

Pending Legislation

HR 2413 Weather Forecasting Improvement Act of 2014. Sponsor: Rep Bridenstine, Jim [R-OK-1] (introduced 06/18/2013) Cosponsors (20) (Passed House)

  • Requires the Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere (who is also the Administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmosphere Administration [NOAA]) to prioritize weather-related activities, including the provision of improved weather data, forecasts, and warnings for the protection of life and property and the enhancement of the national economy, in all relevant line offices.

HR 2219 To reauthorize the Integrated Coastal and Ocean Observation System Act of 2009. SponsorRep Young, Don [AK] (introduced 6/3/2013)      Cosponsors (None) 

  • Reauthorizes the Integrated Coastal and Ocean Observation System Act of 2009 with specified appropriations to the Secretary of Commerce through FY2018.

HR 764 Coastal State Climate Change Planning Act   Sponsor: Rep Capps, Lois [CA-24] (introduced 2/15/2013)   Cosponsors (26) 

  • Amends the Coastal Zone Management Act of 1972 to direct the Secretary of Commerce to establish a coastal climate change adaptation planning and response program to: (1) provide assistance to coastal states to voluntarily develop coastal climate change adaptation plans to minimize contributions to climate change and to prepare for and reduce the negative consequences that may result from climate change in the coastal zone, and (2) provide financial and technical assistance and training to enable coastal states to implement such plans through coastal states’ enforceable policies.

  • Authorizes the Secretary to make grants to coastal states to develop such plans and to support projects that implement strategies contained in such plans. Requires the Secretary to promote and encourage the use of National Estuarine Research Reserves as sites for pilot or demonstration projects carried out with such grants.

S.1254 Harmful Algal Bloom and Hypoxia Research and Control Amendments Act of 2014. Sponsor: Sen Nelson, Bill [D-FL] (introduced 06/27/2013) Cosponsors(18) (Last Action: Presented to President (06/19/2014)

  • Amends the Harmful Algal Bloom and Hypoxia Research and Control Act of 1998 to revise the membership requirements for the Inter-Agency Task Force on Harmful Algal Blooms and Hypoxia to require the Task Force to have a representative from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
  • (Sec. 4) Requires the Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere, acting through the Task Force, to: (1) establish maintain, and periodically review a national harmful algal bloom and hypoxia program, and (2) develop and submit to Congress a comprehensive research plan and action strategy to address marine and freshwater harmful algal blooms and hypoxia.
  • Establishes additional Task Force functions, including: (1) expediting the interagency review process; and (2) promoting the development of new technologies for predicting, monitoring, and mitigating harmful algal bloom and hypoxia conditions.
  • Requires the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to have primary responsibility in administering the Program.
  • Establishes the Under Secretary’s duties, including administering merit-based, competitive grant funding to: (1) maintain and enhance baseline monitoring programs established by the Program, (2) support the Program’s projects, and (3) address the research and management needs and the Action Strategy’s priorities.
  • Requires the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to: (1) research the ecology and impacts of freshwater harmful algal blooms; (2) forecast and monitor event response to freshwater harmful algal blooms in lakes, rivers, estuaries, and reservoirs; and (3) ensure that activities carried under this Act focus on new approaches to addressing freshwater harmful algal blooms and are not duplicative of existing research and development programs authorized by this Act or any other law.
  • Requires the collection of monitoring and observation data under this Act to comply with all data standards and protocols developed pursuant to the Integrated Coastal and Ocean Observation System Act of 2009.
  • (Sec. 7) Requires the Administrator, through the Mississippi River/Gulf of Mexico Watershed Nutrient Task Force, to report to appropriate congressional committees and the President on the progress made by activities directed by the Task Force and carried out or funded by EPA and other state and federal partners toward attainment of the goals of the Gulf Hypoxia Action Plan 2008 within 12 months after this Act’s enactment and biennially thereafter.
  • (Sec. 8) Requires the Task Force to: (1) submit within 18 months to Congress and the President an integrated assessment that examines the causes, consequences, and approaches to reduce hypoxia and harmful algal blooms in the Great Lakes; and (2) develop and submit to Congress a plan, based on such assessment, for reducing, mitigating, and controlling such hypoxia and blooms.
  • (Sec. 11) Authorizes the departments and agencies represented on the Task Force to participate in interagency financing and share, transfer, receive, obligate, and expend funds appropriated to any member of the Task Force for the purposes of carrying out the Act.

S.272 Arctic Research, Monitoring, and Observing Act of 2013 SponsorSen Begich, Mark [AK] (introduced 2/11/2013)      Cosponsors (1)

 S 1344 Arctic Research, Monitoring, and Observing Act of 2013 SponsorSen Begich, Mark [AK] (introduced 7/23/2013)      Cosponsors (None) 

  • .Amends the Arctic Research and Policy Act of 1984 to direct the Arctic Research Commission to award merit-based grants to federal, state, local, or tribal governments and academic and private organizations to conduct research on or related to the Arctic in accordance with the national Arctic research program plan.
  • Authorizes the Commission to enter into agreements with appropriate agencies or organizations to administer grants made pursuant to this Act for Arctic research, including reimbursement from funds of the Commission to administer such grants.

S.367 Drought Information Act of 2013 SponsorSen Pryor, Mark L. [AR] (introduced 2/25/2013)      Cosponsors (4)  Related Bills: H.R.2431 

  • Amends the National Integrated Drought Information System Act of 2006 to specify that: (1) the Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere shall continue to support the National Integrated Drought Information System (NIDIS) Program, and (2) the program’s purpose shall be to better inform and provide for more timely decisionmaking to reduce drought related impacts and costs.
  • Revises NIDIS functions to require the NIDIS to, among other things: (1) provide certain information, forecasts, and assessments described in the Act on both national and regional levels; (2) build upon existing forecasting and assessment programs and partnerships, such as those with specified programs of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), extension system and economist offices of the Department of Agriculture (USDA), the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, and the Farm Service Agency; and (3) continue ongoing research activities related to drought and the role of extreme weather events and climate variability in drought.
  • Requires the Under Secretary to provide a report to Congress concerning the NIDIS Program that includes a list of persons in the private sector with whom the Under Secretary collaborates on NIDIS implementation and a description of NIDIS outreach activities.

S.428 Arctic Deep Water Ports Enhancement Act of 2013  SponsorSen Begich, Mark [AK] (introduced 2/28/2013)      Cosponsors (None)

  • Authorizes the Secretary of the Army to enter into partnership agreements with certain developers to: (1) plan, survey, design, construct, maintain, or operate Arctic deepwater ports; (2) provide technical assistance for such activities; and (3) receive funds from federal, nonfederal, and private entities, including developers of Arctic deepwater ports that have an agreement with the Secretary for such activity.
  • Defines “Arctic deepwater port” as any port facility, in a water depth of at least 30 feet, located in waters: (1) north of 60 degrees latitude north and west of 162 degrees longitude west, or (2) north of 63 degrees latitude north.
  • Defines “developer” as any private entity, state, municipal, or borough government, Alaska Native corporation created by the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act, or the western Alaska community development quota program created by the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act that is seeking to develop an Arctic deepwater port.
  • Establishes the Arctic Port Infrastructure Development Fund within the U.S. Treasury.

S 646 National Endowment for the Oceans Act SponsorSen Whitehouse, Sheldon [RI] (introduced 3/21/2013)      Cosponsors (5) 

  • Authorizes the Secretary of Commerce and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation to establish the National Endowment for the Oceans as a permanent endowment fund to support programs and activities to restore, protect, maintain, or understand living marine resources and their habitats and ocean, coastal, and Great Lakes resources, including baseline scientific researchocean observing, and other programs in coordination with federal and state agencies.
  • Requires the contribution of non-federal matching funds for certain projects.
  • Specifies that programs funded in Great Lakes states shall also seek to attain the goals embodied in the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative Plan, the Great Lakes Regional Collaboration Strategy, the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement, or other collaborative planning efforts of the Great Lakes Region. Prohibits the funding of litigation.
  • Directs the Foundation, according to a specified allocation formula, to award a minimum percentage of funds as grants to coastal states while awarding a lesser percentage of funds to entities including states, Indian tribes, regional bodies, associations, non-governmental organizations, and academic institutions.

S.839 Coral Reef Conservation Amendments Act of 2013 SponsorSen Nelson, Bill [FL] (introduced 4/25/2013)      Cosponsors (3) 

  • Amends the Coral Reef Conservation Act of 2000 to transfer certain authority from the Administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to the Secretary of Commerce (the Secretary). Directs the Secretary to submit to Congress a national coral reef ecosystem action strategy, revised as necessary, to include discussions of: (1) coastal uses and management, including land-based sources of pollution; (2) climate change; and (3) other specified matters.
  • Directs the Secretary to give priority to community-based local action strategies when awarding certain grants for conservation projects. Authorizes funds for monitoring and assessment, research, pollution reduction, education, and technical support. Revises the project proposal approval process by directing the Secretary to consider criteria, including: (1) coral reef ecosystems (current law refers only to coral reefs) and biodiversity; (2) international ecosystems; (3) mitigation of coral disease, ocean acidification, and bleaching; and (4) support for community-based planning with local governmental and nongovernmental organizations.
  • Defines “coral reef ecosystem” as the system of coral reefs and geographically associated species, habitats, and environment, including any adjacent or associated mangroves and seagrass habitats, and the processes that control its dynamics.
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