May 20, 2021
On 11 May 2021, AGU sent a letter of endorsement to leadership of the Senate Commerce, Justice, and Science Committee for the National Ocean Exploration Act.
The National Ocean Exploration Act will help to ensure that our oceans continue to provide resources vital to our lives and our livelihoods—from food and energy sources to weather and global climate modulation, to biologically diverse habitats. Specifically, right now, there are significant gaps in our ability to collect data from our oceans that we need to make sound decisions affecting the nation’s economy, security, and environmental health. For example, earlier this year, the Interagency Working Group on Ocean and Coastal Mapping reported that just over half of U.S. waters are still unmapped.
By providing statutory authority for the National Ocean Mapping, Exploration, and Characterization Council, the National Ocean Exploration Act will further solidify the interagency coordination critical to advancing ocean science. In addition, by reauthorizing NOAA’s existing
Ocean Exploration, Ocean and Coastal Mapping, and Hydrographic Services programs, the bill will ensure these key programs can continue working toward achieve the nation’s ocean policy priorities. Finally, by directing the development of an integrated ocean and coastal mapping federal funding match, the bill will create opportunities for strengthened partnerships and cross-sector collaboration that can elevate ocean innovation and discovery.
AGU’s members in the ocean sciences, who come from a wide diversity of backgrounds and expertise, are dedicated to understanding processes in marine environments—from the coast to the open ocean and from the sea surface to beneath the seafloor—and to ensure that the science is translated for the public and decisionmakers. As such, AGU members can attest to the fundamental role that ocean mapping, exploration, and characterization play in understanding and preserving our oceans.
Given our strong shared interests on the goals of this legislation, AGU appreciates your leadership and looks forward to working with you on this critical issue in the future.
You can read the full text of the letter here.