WASHINGTON, D.C. – The House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Fisheries, Wildlife, Oceans and Insular Affairs today held a hearing on H.R. 1399, the Hydrographic Services Improvement Amendments Act, and H.R. 2219, a bill to reauthorize the Integrated Coastal and Ocean Observation System Act, both introduced by Alaskan Congressman Don Young earlier this year.
H.R. 1399 would reauthorize the Hydrographic Services Improvement Act of 1998 at FY2012 funding levels, while requiring $7 million per year toward Arctic hydrographic work, while limiting the administrative costs on contracts to 5%. Also found in the legislation, is a GAO study comparing the costs associated with conducting hydrographic surveys by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the cost of using contractors.
“This legislation is aimed at furthering America’s knowledge of its coasts, shipping routes, and waterways, with an increased emphasis on the Arctic, through research and studies,” Rep. Young said. “These hydrographic surveys are a key part of maritime safety, while also aiding economic and environmental efforts nationwide.”
H.R. 2219 would reauthorize the Integrated Coastal and Ocean Observation System Act (IOOS). This program, comprised of an innovative consortium of federal, state, industry, research entities and academic partners, has provided better coordination and increased efficiency in how the federal government funds ocean research, data collection, and the development of products for ocean users. Using floats, ships, buoys, satellites, aircraft, and other entities, IOOS provides critical information used for predicting extreme weather events, identifying national security threats, ocean health, and aiding industry.
“Alaska is a proud home to one of the eleven regional IOOS associations, and works on our 44,000 miles of coastline. One example of their work is the network of 3,000 real-time sensors they maintain across the state that measures air temperature, wind speed, waves, and other information,” said Rep. Young. “Whether they know it or not, Alaska IOOS and the information they provide is important to the more than 80% of Alaska residents living near the water.”
Congressman Young is co-chair of the bipartisan Congressional Oceans Caucus, which is dedicated to raising the awareness of the nation’s oceans through the support of ocean research.