Senate Passing ICOOS Reauthorization

The Senate passed S 1886 “The Coordinate Ocean Monitoring and Research Act” that reauthorizes the Integrated Coastal and Ocean Observation System (ICOOS) Act of 2009.  The bill was co-sponsored by Senators Wicker (R-MS) and Cantwell (D-WA). In addition to reauthorizing the ICOOS Act, the bill addresses the need for research and monitoring for ocean chemistry and acidification.  

Two bills have been introduced in the House that would reauthorize the ICOOS Act of 2009. 

Representatives Young (R-AK) and Sablan (Ind-MP) introduced HR  2744 “The Integrated Coastal Ocean Observing Act Amendment 2015.”  To date, 26 members have signed on as co-sponsors of HR 2744.  HR 2744 includes two administrative changes to the original Act but limits appropriations to 2015 levels. 

HR 6321, which was recently introduced by Rep Grayson (D-FL), effectively introduces S 1886 into the House. 

Prior to the ICOOS Act of 2009, there was not a coordinated approach to coastal ocean observing system.  Coastal data was collected by multiple Federal, tribal, state and local agencies, researchers and citizen groups in mismatched formats and largely inaccessible by others.

The ICOOS Act established a coordinated program to integrate and share existing data, fills critical gaps and to produce information that is accessible to a range of users from mariners to fishermen to emergency managers and the general public.  The Act designated NOAA as the lead federal agency, establishes a national network Regional Information Coordinating Entities (also known as Regional Associations) and the Interagency Ocean Observing Committee to coordinate the collection, management and dissemination of 17 Federal agencies.  The Act provides a framework for the integration of federal and non-federal data and for ensuring that the variety of agencies, companies, and interested citizens have access to timely and reliable information.