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Coordinated Ocean Observations and Research Act of 2020

Floor Speech

Date: Dec. 3, 2020
Location: Washington, DC


Mr. YOUNG. Mr. Speaker, I thank my good chairwoman for yielding the time and my good friend on the other side from Hawaii, one of my brother States, for this piece of legislation; Congresswoman Bonamici for a very bipartisan bill with Senator Roger Wicker, Dan Sullivan, involved in this legislation. It has been hard work, dedication to our coasts, our oceans, and the Great Lakes.

Mr. Speaker, we sometimes forget, we hear a lot about climate change, et cetera, but one of the biggest challenges we have is the condition of our oceans and how we can clean it up, but only keep that in your mind so maybe we can go forth in the future to really solve some of these problems, especially with the plastics.

This bill, which includes technical changes implemented by the Senate, would reauthorize the Integrated Coastal and Ocean Observation System Act through the fiscal year of 2024.

The 11 regional association networks of the Integrated Ocean Observing System work with regional partners to develop, operate, and maintain more than 300 observing assets that collect oceanographic and coastal data, including information about rising sea levels, coastal flooding, and harmful algal blooms.

This program is a simple system with multiple uses.

I will say that a cost-effective approach of fulfilling this Nation's need for coastal data is very important.

The data from these systems enables the Coast Guard to reduce the size of their search areas by two-thirds. The data is also used for tracking oil spills, providing mariners with sea state conditions, and for ship detection.

During the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, IOOS regions responded by deploying high-frequency radars and underwater gliders to the region to assist with monitoring the spill. IOOS data standards enabled the Federal command center to use non-Federal sources of data for the first time. NOAA's Office of Response and Restoration now routinely uses this data in their oil spill response.

It also provides core observations for water level, waves, winds, et cetera, and it helps to protect against flooding and surges of the sea.

Mr. Speaker, this is a good, bipartisan piece of legislation. I hope it will save lives.

We just had an instance in Haines, Alaska, where huge waves and rain destroyed a lot of our coastal areas. That just happened yesterday. This will help us try to make sure that we would have known that ahead of time.

It will save us money.

I would really like to congratulate everybody here on a bipartisan piece of legislation. It is long overdue. We will get the problems solved with oceans.

This is a good piece of legislation, and I urge my colleagues to support it.

Miss GONZALEZ-COLON of Puerto Rico.