Sheril Kirshenbaum of the new Intersection blog at Discover alerts us that the House passed HR 146 yesterday, so the big ocean bill is one step closer to becoming law. Congrats to Sheril and Chris Mooney for their promotion from Scienceblogs. Here’s the details on the oceanic stimulus package.
- “Ocean and Coastal Exploration and NOAA Act.” Directs the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to establish an integrated mapping program encompassing the Great Lakes, coastal state waters, the territorial sea, the exclusive economic zone, and the continental shelf of the United States. Cost: $872 million over five years, $1.5 billion over the 2008-2017 period.
- “Coastal and Ocean Observation Act.” Directs the National Ocean Research Leadership Council to develop and operate an integrated coastal and ocean observation system. Cost: $800 million over five years.
- “Ocean Acidification Research and Monitoring Act.” Establishes a new federal program within the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to conduct research and public outreach on ocean acidification. Cost: $100 million over five years.
- “Coastal and Estuarine Land Protection Act.” Directs the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to establish a new federal program to protect land near coastal areas and estuaries. Under the program, NOAA would make grants to coastal states that wish to purchase eligible lands or other property interests. Cost: $240 million over five years.
This is supplemental to RFPs for newly minted funds for habitat restoration and education making the rounds recently among marine science organizations. Suddenly there’s so much money around that people are wondering how to spend it. Not a bad problem to have!