From the President’s Office – 6/28/2012
This week, Ocean Leadership hosted the U.S. Advisory Committee for Scientific Ocean Drilling’s (USAC) June meeting. I had the pleasure of delivering the opening remarks and discussed with the committee the importance of the community in expanding on the ideas and recommendations developed during the Building U.S. Strategies workshop, a community effort held in the spring to develop U.S. science priorities for the post-2013 Integrated Ocean Drilling Program. I also encouraged the USAC to continue to lead the community in encouraging workshops and drilling proposals. It is important that the drilling community continues to work together to build collaborations and partnerships for an effective and efficient program future.
Something new happened in Washington this week. It appears that Congress has been able to negotiate a few major pieces of legislation before they head home for the 4th of July recess. Most notable in the package of transportation, student loans and flood insurance bills is the inclusion of the RESTORE Act, which reinvests 80 percent of the Clean Water Act fines (estimated between 5 and 20 billion dollars) back into the Gulf region for ecological and economic restoration. While the final bill did not include Senator Whitehouse’s (D-RI) proposed National Endowment for the Ocean, it does set aside 5 percent of funds for research, monitoring, observation and technology programs (details below). Given the tight federal fiscal climate that we are now experiencing, the ability to reinvest these funds in the Gulf is welcome news indeed.
Here in Washington, the city is busy gearing up for the holiday festivities next week. I hope you all have an enjoyable weekend (try to stay cool, it’s hot here!) and a great 4th of July next Wednesday.