WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., ranking member of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, today released the following statement after the Committee approved 11 bills and two nominations, including the National Ocean Exploration Act, the Flood Level Observation, Operations, and Decision Support (FLOODS) Act, and the Advanced Technological Manufacturing Act.
“I am pleased that the Committee approved many bipartisan measures today,” said Wicker. “This includes legislation that would strengthen programs at NOAA to improve the way we explore and map our oceans as well as the agency’s flood monitoring, forecasting, and communication efforts. Another bill that passed would support community and technical colleges in preparing students to begin their careers in new and emerging technological sectors. I thank my colleagues for their support and look forward to seeing these important initiatives advance on the Senate floor.”
The National Ocean Exploration Act (S. 381) would:
- Authorize and improve the National Ocean Mapping, Exploration, and Characterization Council;
- Reauthorize the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) existing Ocean Exploration, Ocean and Coastal Mapping, and Hydrographic Services programs from fiscal years 2021 to 2030;
- Establish a system to enhance the public accessibility of ocean-related National Environmental Policy Act documents and the geo-referenced data included in them.
The FLOODS Act (S. 558) would:
- Establish a “National Integrated Flood Information System” to coordinate and integrate flood research at NOAA;
- Establish partnerships with institutions of higher education and federal agencies to improve total water predictions;
- Designate a service coordination hydrologist at each National Weather Service River Forecast Center to increase impact-based decision support services at state and local level;
- Evaluate and improve flood watches and warnings and communication of information to support coordinated flood management;
- Encourage NOAA to evaluate acoustic tracking and measuring of windstorms, use aerial surveys of floodwaters to improve flood mapping, and improve modeling of freshwater outflow into the ocean; and
- Establish a committee to ensure coordination of federal departments with joint or overlapping responsibilities in water management.
The Advanced Technological Manufacturing Act (S. 735) would:
- Modernize the Scientific and Advanced-Technology Act of 1992; and
- Direct the National Science Foundation (NSF) Director to establish a series of pilot programs to expand the number of institutions of higher education that can successfully compete for NSF grants.