House Ocean Caucus Introduces Bill to Accelerate Ocean Research

During National Ocean Month, Representatives Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR) and Don Young (R-AK), Co-Chairs of the House Ocean Caucus in Washington, D.C., introduced legislation to improve our understanding of the ocean, bays, estuaries, and coasts.

The Bolstering Long-Term Understanding and Exploration of the Great Lakes, Oceans, Bays, and Estuaries (BLUE GLOBE) Act will strengthen ocean data collection and monitoring efforts, as well as improve the coordination of current federal and international programs. The bill will create an Interagency Ocean Exploration Committee, assess the potential for an Advanced Research Project Agency–Oceans (ARPA-O), establish an innovation prize, and strengthen federal innovation efforts to expand ocean data and monitoring technologies.

“Ocean covers most of the Earth, yet we know very little about what is beneath its surface,” said Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici. “Today changing conditions threaten our ocean more than ever, but we do not have the information necessary to respond. The BLUE GLOBE Act will help protect and preserve one of our planet’s greatest natural resources by rapidly accelerating the collection, management, and dissemination of data on the ocean, Great Lakes, bays, estuaries, and coasts. I am pleased to work with my House Oceans Caucus Co-Chair on this bill to help improve the stewardship of our ocean for generations to come.”

“Healthy oceans are essential to Alaska’s economy and way of life and as National Oceans Month comes to a close, I am proud to join my House Oceans Caucus Co-Chair as we introduce the BLUE GLOBE Act,” said Congressman Don Young. “This comprehensive bill will improve our understanding of the ocean by supporting the development and deployment of new, innovative research strategies. I am particularly excited about the advances this bill will make for our ocean mapping capabilities and for our efforts to fight illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing. I look forward to continuing our work to strengthen our oceans both for Alaska, and for coastal communities across our nation.”

Earlier this month, the House unanimously passed Bonamici’s COAST Research Act to expand scientific research and monitoring of ocean and coastal acidification. Young joined Bonamici in leading the bill, which is a priority for the House Oceans Caucus.

A summary of the BLUE GLOBE Act can be found here and the bill text can be found here. The legislation will:

  • Direct existing ocean-focused interagency committees to coordinate supercomputing and data storage efforts, develop cross-agency databases, and support consistent quality assurance, integration, and archiving practices.
  • Assess the potential for an Advanced Research Project Agency–Oceans (ARPA-O).
  • Establish an Interagency Ocean Exploration Committee to promote the exploration and improved understanding of our ocean and the collection of data from indigenous, subsistence, and fishing communities.
  • Advance and deploy emerging data and monitoring technologies through Cooperative Institutes. The bill would also create an Ocean Innovation prize to catalyze the rapid development and deployment of data collection and monitoring technology.
  • Create an IUU Fishing Tech Force to coordinate application and development of technologies to address IUU fishing.
  • Support education and workforce development efforts for the Blue Economy.
  • Improve federal investments in ocean data and monitoring. The bill reauthorizes NOAA’s Ocean Exploration program, Integrated Ocean and Coastal Mapping programs, and Hydrographic Services Improvement programs.

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