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September 2014 Issue

Ocean Champions Endorses Rep. Suzanne Bonamici
Ocean Champions, which works to build political power for the oceans by helping to elect pro-ocean candidates to the U.S. Congress, has endorsed Rep. Suzanne Bonamici for her third term in Oregon’s First District.

She reached across the aisle to build bipartisan support for one of Ocean Champions’ highest priority pieces of legislation, the Harmful Algal Bloom and Hypoxia Research and Control Act, which would have languished without Republican support. Her work was fundamental to the bill passing Congress and being signed into law.

Bonamici has worked to address the problem of ocean pollution—in particular the challenges inflicted upon the Oregon coast by debris from the 2012 earthquake and tsunami that struck Japan, leaving her district with unsightly beaches, high cleanup costs and the threat of invasive species. She has also aggressively opposed increased offshore drilling and subsidies for oil companies, instead supporting additional research to spur investment in green jobs.


Bonamici, Rohrabacher Introduce Tsunami Act in US House
House Ranking Member of the Environment Subcommittee Suzanne Bonamici (D-Ore.) and Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.) introduced H.R. 5309, the Tsunami Warning, Education, and Research Act of 2014. Full Committee Ranking Member Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-Texas) and Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) were the original co-sponsors of the legislation.

The significant number of lives lost, and damage done to property and infrastructure, resulting from the 2004 Sumatra-Andaman earthquake and tsunami prompted Congress to enact the Tsunami Warning and Education Act in 2006.

The 2014 bill would reauthorize and strengthen the tsunami detection, forecast, warning, research and mitigation program of NOAA. It advances research efforts related to improving tsunami detection, forecasting, warnings, notification, mitigation, resiliency, response, outreach and recovery; establishes or maintains tsunami warning centers to continuously monitor and evaluate seismic data, and provide adequate warnings for U.S. coastal communities; improves the coordination between experts within the tsunami warning centers and local weather forecasting offices to ensure local offices have the technical knowledge and capacity necessary to disseminate these warnings; supports a community-based tsunami hazard mitigation program to improve the preparedness and resiliency of at-risk areas; modifies the Tsunami Research Program’s focus on the mitigation of tsunami impacts to include the improvement of near-field tsunami detection and forecasting capabilities; designates a Tsunami Science and Technology Advisory Panel to provide advice to NOAA and Congress regarding tsunami science, technology, and regional preparedness; and directs the administrator to work with relevant agencies to provide technical assistance and training to international entities to develop a global tsunami forecast and warning system.


Rep. Hastings Criticizes Endangered Species Act
U.S. House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Doc Hastings (R-Wash.) delivered the floor statement in support of H.R. 4315, the Endangered Species Transparency and Reasonableness Act.

He criticized the Endangered Species Act as lacking comprehensiveness and advocated for enlisting greater consultation by states, localities and tribes and reduction of “taxpayer-financed attorneys fees to help invest more funding in actual species recovery.”

“It is troubling that hundreds of sweeping listing decisions by the Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service cite unpublished studies, professional opinions, and other sources that are inaccessible to the public yet this data would be used to regulate the very people who don’t have access to this information,” he said.


Action to be Delayed on Offshore Revenue-Sharing Bill
Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.), chair of the Senate Energy & Natural Resources (ENR) Committee, indicated that her top legislative item will not see further Senate action until at least after the November elections, NOIA reported. Landrieu and ENR’s top Republican, Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), previously teamed up on legislation to increase oil and gas revenue sharing for Gulf coast states while establishing such revenue sharing for Alaska and other coastal states. NOIA has long supported revenue sharing, so long as it is coupled with access to new OCS areas. Landrieu has been holding numerous hearings, both in Washington, D.C., and Louisiana, in furtherance of the revenue-sharing issue, while attempting to build a coalition of support by also advocating for more robust funding of the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) and programs benefiting western and rural areas. Funded almost entirely from offshore revenue, LWCF is a politically divisive issue on Capitol Hill, pitting conservationists and hunting and fishing groups against many western state lawmakers concerned the fund is misused to build the federal land trust with little ecological benefits.


Seafood Harvesters of America Supports Senate Action on VIDA
The Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation favorably reported S. 2094 (the Vessel Incidental Discharge Act, or VIDA) to deal with discharges incidental to the normal operation of a commercial fishing vessel. Seafood Harvesters of America President Chris Brown applauded the Senate for taking action on the measure, which has bipartisan support.

“If Congress fails to get this legislation signed into law before the end of the session, when the moratorium expires, it could push our economically critical industry to the edge of a massive ‘fish cliff,’” said Brown.

“Congress must ensure that U.S. commercial fishermen can continue to sustainably harvest our seafood resources for the benefit of American consumers, coastal communities and the thousands of small business[es] around the country that depend on continued access to U.S. seafood.”



2014:  JAN | FEB | MARCH | APRIL | MAY | JUNE | JULY | AUG | SEPT
2013:  JAN | FEB | MARCH | APRIL | MAY | JUNE | JULY | AUG | SEPT | OCT | NOV | DEC

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