House supports coastal communities by passing Sea Grant Act

The U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 5618, National Sea Grant College Program Amendments Act of 2008. This legislation will increase the funding levels and the interaction between the National Sea Grant Office and the individual state programs and will improve programmatic performance reviews. It was based on recommendations emerging from the National Academy of Sciences 2006 review of the Sea Grant program...

WASHINGTON, DC, Sept. 30, 2008 -- The U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 5618, National Sea Grant College Program Amendments Act of 2008. This legislation will increase the funding levels and the interaction between the National Sea Grant Office and the individual state programs and will improve programmatic performance reviews. It was based on recommendations emerging from the National Academy of Sciences 2006 review of the Sea Grant program.

The Sea Grant program is a partnership between state and federal government to promote the understanding, conservation, and management of our ocean, coastal, and Great Lakes resources.

"This program has been very effective in training our nation's future scientists and resource managers, generating information to support sound resource management, and delivering applied research results to Americans whose livelihoods depend on the coastal areas and Great Lakes," said Committee on Science and Technology Chairman Bart Gordon (D-TN).

The National Sea Grant College Program was last reauthorized in 2002. Growth of the National Sea Grant College Program has been stunted during the last few years. The flat funding level has, over time, impacted the services delivered on a daily basis to coastal communities. With the costs of research and education rising, programs have been forced to reduce staff and a number of education and outreach activities.

"This legislation seeks to amend the Sea Grant Program to implement changes recommended by the National Academy of Sciences," said Subcommittee on Energy and Environment Chairman Nick Lampson (D-TX). "Some of these improvements include increasing communication between the National Sea Grant Office and the individual state programs; as well as improving programmatic performance reviews and authorizing increased funding."

The legislation was amended by the Senate after the House approved it on July 14th.

H.R. 5618 passed the Committee on June 25 and the Energy and Environment Subcommittee on June 18.

For more information, please see the Committee's website.

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