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Capital Report


July 2016 Issue

Senate, House Bills Specify
Funding for USACE

The U.S. Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development, and Related Agencies approved $37.5 billion to fund U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) programs and critical infrastructure projects administered by the Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) and Bureau of Reclamation. The FY 2017 Energy and Water Development Appropriations Bill represents a $355 million increase over the FY 2016 enacted level and $261 million above the president’s budget request. The committee rejected the president’s budget recommendation to cut USACE funding by 23 percent. The bill approves $6 billion for USACE, an increase of $11 million above the FY 2016 enacted level. The bill exceeds the targets in the Water Resources Reform and Development Act of 2014 for appropriations from the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund for USACE and provides $700 million above the president’s budget request for construction of river and harbor, flood storm damage reduction, shore protection, aquatic ecosystem restoration, and related projects authorized by law. Meanwhile, the U.S. House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee unanimously approved H.R. 5303, the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) of 2016. This bipartisan legislation is Congress’s return to the regular, biannual process of authorizing projects and activities related to the key missions of the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers, including developing and maintaining the nation’s waterway infrastructure and supporting effective and targeted flood protection and environmental restoration needs. The legislation maintains the strong bipartisan reforms included in the Water Resources Reform and Development Act of 2014, and adheres to the new transparent process established in that law for congressional review of proposed Corps water resources development activities. The legislation authorizes approximately $5 billion in federal funding for Corps activities, offset by $5 billion in deauthorizations of previously authorized projects. The measure also sunsets new authorizations to prevent future project backlogs.

NSF Funds for Improved
FAU Research Network

Florida Atlantic University has received a $500,000, two-year grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to create a new network that will better connect research efforts across the university and partnering entities. The network design, DMZ, will span the Boca Raton, Jupiter and Harbor Branch campuses, as well as Scripps Florida and the Max Planck Florida Institute for Neuroscience, and will provide faculty and students with a tenfold increase in capacity. By separating its research network from its academic and administrative infrastructure, DMZ will support congestion-free network transfers among researchers.

US, Denmark Agree to Cooperate
On Offshore Wind

The U.S. and Denmark signed a historic memorandum of understanding (MOU) to recognize their common interests in developing offshore wind as a clean and sustainable energy source. The MOU identifies high priority areas for cooperation, including promoting information sharing, best practices and policy initiatives to support development and regulation of offshore wind energy resources; identifying and discussing challenges associated with financing and risk management for offshore wind energy facilities; identifying opportunities for the sharing of best practices, regulatory approaches and scientific models with regard to protection of the environment; facilitating technical knowledge transfer related to electrical interconnection and grid integration of electricity generated from offshore wind energy facilities; and knowledge sharing on a wide range of offshore wind energy issues.

Ocean Champions Endorses
10 More California Candidates

Ocean Champions, which works to build political power for the oceans by helping to elect pro-ocean candidates to the U.S. Congress, endorsed 10 more candidates from California. They are: Julia Brownley (D-CA-26) for Ventura County; Mike Honda (D-CA-17) for Silicon Valley; Jared Huffman (D-CA-2) for the coast from San Francisco to the Oregon border; Alan Lowenthal (D-CA-47) for parts of Los Angeles County and Orange County; Jerry McNerney (D-CA-9) for the region spanning the rivers of the Sacramento and San Joaquin Delta; Grace Napolitano (D-CA-32) for parts of eastern Los Angeles County; Adam Schiff (D-CA-28) for the area from West Hollywood to Pasadena; Eric Swalwell (D-CA-15) for the San Francisco east bay area; Mark Takano (D-CA-41) for the Inland Empire of Riverside and Morena Valley; and Xavier Becerra (D-CA-34) for downtown Los Angeles. Earlier this year, Ocean Champions endorsed Jimmy Panetta (D-CA-20), who is running for retiring ocean champion Sam Farr’s seat representing the Monterey Bay region, and Salud Carbajal (D-CA-24), running for retiring ocean champion Lois Capps’s seat from Santa Barbara.

House Hearing on Importance
Of National Weather Service

The U.S. House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology’s Subcommittee on Environment held a hearing titled “Private Sector Weather Forecasting: Assessing Products and Technologies” to discuss how the ongoing partnership between the National Weather Service (NWS), academic institutions and the private weather industry may evolve to meet the diverse needs of the public. Members and witnesses discussed the important role of government weather data, models and forecasts to catalyze private sector advancements and serve as a consistent and reliable baseline for the weather community. They also discussed how NOAA is at the forefront of supercomputing capabilities and the importance of adequately funding NOAA to maintain this position.

Canada to Increase Number
Of Marine Protected Areas

The government of Canada announced a plan to reach its marine conservation targets at the World Wildlife Fund Annual Oceans Summit. It would substantially increase the number of Marine Protected Areas, protect large pristine areas and would enable faster establishment of Oceans Act Marine Protected Areas. There would be a combination of areas with no human activities and areas where activities, such as fishing, could continue as long as they do not infringe on conservation objectives.


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