The acting administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Rear Admiral Tim Gallaudet, appeared before the Senate Commerce Subcommittee on Oceans, Atmosphere, Fisheries, and Coast Guard on July 24 to answer questions about NOAA’s Blue Economy Initiative. At the hearing, Gallaudet also vowed that NOAA is committed to the climate and conservation elements of its mission.
On June 19, President Donald Trump signed Executive Order (E.O.) 13840, “Ocean Policy to Advance Economic, Security, and Environmental Interests of the United States,” revoking and replacing much of the previous administration’s ocean policy. E.O. 13840 seeks to improve interagency coordination on ocean-related matters, public access to data, and engagement with marine industries, the science and technology community, and other stakeholders.
In June 2018, the House and Senate consecutively passed the Energy and Water, Legislative Branch, and Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations Act, 2019 (H.R. 5895) to make progress on the appropriations process before the fiscal year (FY) 2019 deadline of September 30, 2018. More FY 2019 appropriations bills are slated to be considered in July, with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell vowing to shorten the Senate’s August recess to proceed with appropriations legislation and nominee confirmation.
The Senate Subcommittee on Oceans, Atmosphere, Fisheries, and Coast Guard held a hearing on June 5 to review the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Digital Coast program. The program provides a free online database to help meet the unique needs of the coastal management community.
Lawmakers from both the House and the Senate introduced bipartisan bills to reauthorize the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA), which should be passed every two years. The legislation provides for improvements to the nation’s ports, dams, flood protection, ecosystem restoration, and other water infrastructure administered by the Army Corps of Engineers. The Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works and the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure each approved their chamber’s version of the WRDA reauthorization on May 22 and May 23, respectively.