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December 2015 Issue

Marine Policy Fellowship
Open for Applications

The California Sea Grant College Program is seeking applications for the 2017 NOAA Sea Grant John A. Knauss Marine Policy Fellowship, which provides a unique educational experience to graduate students interested in ocean and coastal resources and related national policy decisions.

The program, which is sponsored by NOAA National Sea Grant College Program, matches highly qualified graduate students with hosts in the legislative or executive branch of the government in the Washington, D.C., area for a one-year paid fellowship to learn about marine policy.


Rep. Hunter Stresses Need
For US-Flag Commercial Vessels

There are more than 40,000 U.S.-flag commercial vessels, and the U.S. maritime industry accounts for more than $100 billion in annual economic output, according to Rep. Duncan Hunter’s (R-Calif.) statement from a hearing on “Maritime Transportation’s Role in International Food Aid Programs.”

U.S.-flag commercial vessels crewed by American Merchant Mariners also transport food aid to countries in need, as well as carry troops, weapons and supplies to the battlefield.

Less than 2 percent of the world’s tonnage now moves on U.S.-flag vessels. To remain a world power, the U.S. must maintain a fleet of U.S.-flag commercial vessels to carry much needed supplies to the battlefield, food aid to countries in need, a large cadre of skilled American mariners to man those vessels, and a strong shipyard industrial base to ensure the capability to build and replenish U.S. naval forces in times of war, said Hunter.


Michelle Wyman to be
NCSE Executive Director

The Board of Directors of the U.S. National Council for Science and the Environment (NCSE) announced that Michelle Wyman will succeed Peter Saundry as executive director on January 4, 2016.

She brings more than 15 years of successful leadership experience working on environmental policy, planning and leadership in government, nonprofit and the private sector. Most recently, Wyman served as senior advisor to states working on advanced energy future planning.


Two Lease Winners for
BOEM Offshore Wind Sale

In November, BOEM held its fifth competitive wind lease sale in federal waters, which offered nearly 344,000 acres offshore New Jersey. The provisional winners of the sale are RES America Developments Inc., which bid $880,715 for lease area OCS-A 0498 (160,480 acres), and US Wind Inc., which bid $1,006,240 for OCS-A 0499 (183,353 acres). Fishermen’s Energy LLC also participated in the lease sale. Each lease will have a preliminary term of one year.

If fully developed, the area leased could support about 3,400 MW of commercial wind generation to power about 1.2 million homes.


TIGER Grants to
Improve US Ports

The U.S. Department of Transportation has awarded several TIGER (Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery) grants to ports around the country, including $10 million to the Port of Indiana-Jeffersonville, $12.3 million to the Port of Hueneme, and $10 million for the Tenth Avenue Marine Terminal Modernization project in San Diego.

The GROW AMERICA Act, the Barack Obama Administration’s surface transportation legislative proposal, would fund TIGER with $7.5 billion over six years for future TIGER grants.


Funding to Predict Coastal
Acidification Impacts

A team of researchers led by Dr. Paul Montagna at the Harte Research Institute for Gulf of Mexico Studies at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi has received funds from NOAA to investigate how drought and land use change affect coastal acidification. They will use that information to predict how future acidification and changes in rain patterns will impact the estuarine ecosystems of Texas, which provide important habitat and act as nurseries for some of the Gulf’s valued fish and shellfish species.

Other universities that received part of the $1.3 million from NOAA to predict coastal acidification impacts to commercial species and vulnerable habitats are the University of California at Los Angeles and the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Sciences.


Keystone XL Pipeline
Rejected by Obama Administration

The Barack Obama Administration has rejected the application to build the Keystone XL oil pipeline from Canada, reported the UN’s Climate Action.

Keystone XL was the focus of heavy debate among U.S. government and special interest groups.

The pipeline would have run 1,179 mi. from Alberta, Canada, to Steele City, Nebraska, transporting 800,000 barrels of oil a day.

The White House announced that Keystone would not have lowered petrol prices or created long-term jobs and would not have improved energy security.


Canadian Ocean Scientists
Want Government Action

Nineteen Canadian ocean scientists have come together to call on the new Liberal government in Canada to repair damage they say was done by the outgoing Conservative government, the CBC reported.

“We all worry about a society that is not based on science,” Dr. Rashid Sumaila, a researcher at the University of British Columbia’s Institute for the Oceans and Fisheries, told CBC. “If a government doesn’t care about evidence, you can be sure we are going to be driven into really terrible situations.”

The ocean scientists published a paper called “Canada at a crossroad: The imperative for realigning ocean policy with ocean science” arguing for the health of Canada’s ocean ecosystem as critical to the maritime economy and coastal resilience. They also say the federal government has silenced ocean scientists and cut funding. The scientists call on the government to shore up marine conservation legislation.






2015:  JAN | FEB | MARCH | APRIL | MAY | JUNE | JULY | AUG | SEPT | OCT | NOV | DEC
2014:  JAN | FEB | MARCH | APRIL | MAY | JUNE | JULY | AUG | SEPT | OCT | NOV | DEC

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