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House Passes Two-Year, $907-Million N O A A Bill

The U.S. House of Representative agreed to a two-year reauthorization for the "wet" programs of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) not authorized by law.

The bill, H.R. 4008, authorizes $444.2 million for FY'95 and $463.4 million for FY '96 to support NOAA's programs that rebuild our nation's fisheries, provide nautical charts and other services for safe navigation, manage our coastal zone, and conduct basic and applied research in marine and coastal waters, said Gerry E. Studds, chairman of the Merchant Marine & Fisheries Committee. Specifically, the bill authorizes: • $103 million in FY '95 and $106 million in FY '96 for National Ocean Service Programs (charting, mapping, oceanographic and meteorological measurements); • $116 million in FY '95 and $128 million in FY '96 for ocean and Great Lakes research (including the National Undersea Research Program); • $82 million in FY '95 and $85 million in FY '96 for the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS); and • $135 million in FY '95 and $140 million in FY '96 for administration, operations and maintenance.

The bill also transfers ownership of the NMFS laboratory in Gloucester, Mass. — scheduled to be consolidated with the NMFS lab in Sandy Hook, N.J. — to the state of Massachusetts to house the state's fisheries research lab. The Commonwealth is losing its current facility at Cat Cove in Salem, Mass. "This transfer makes everyone happy," Mr.Studds said. "The state fisheries program gets a desperately needed new home: federal fisheries research is consolidated, yet any NMFS projects that require an ongoing presence in Massachusetts will be welcome to stay.' The house also adopted several noncontroversial amendments, including coordinating efforts to save Pacific salmon. In total, six amendments were adopted by voice vote: a study of the feasibility of converting an offshore gas production platform in the Gulf of Mexico for marine research purposes; authorizing up to $500,000 for a public education program on the health risks associated with eating raw shellfish; $1.E million for architecture and engineering studies to replace the NMFS lab at Tiburon, Calif.; and up tc $150,000 to operate and maintain a law enforcement vessel at the Monterey Bay National Marin Sanctuary.

 
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