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Senate Passes National Ocean Exploration Program Act
Authorizes a Coordinated Approach Between the
NSF & NOAA On Ocean Exploration


November 17, 2004

Tuesday the United States Senate passed S. 2280 the National Ocean Exploration Program Act (the Act), which establishes a national ocean exploration program within the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in consultation with the National Science Foundation (NSF) and other appropriate federal agencies.  The bill was sponsored by Senator Ted Stevens and co-sponsored by Senators Fritz Hollings (D-South Carolina) and Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii). 

The National Ocean Exploration Program Act creates for better coordination between NOAA and NSF.  The Act expands ocean exploration to discover new marine substances that potentially have therapeutic benefits; studies unique marine ecosystems, organisms and the geology of the world's oceans; and maximizes ocean research effectiveness by integrating multiple scientific disciplines in the ocean science community.

When Senator Stevens introduced the bill he noted that the Act promotes exploration of remote ocean areas, in particular, deep ocean regions, specifically, hydrothermal vents communities and seamounts.  More research on these areas, where organisms exist in highly toxic environments, may bring significant scientific and medical breakthroughs.

"Decades ago I helped Oscar Dyson, a great Alaska fisherman, secure a small grant to explore the North Pacific," said Senator Stevens, "With that grant he discovered a significant number of species of marine life that we now consider to be central to the North Pacific.  It is my hope that the National Ocean Exploration Program Act will provide this type exploration and discovery for our nation's oceans." 

The National Ocean Exploration Program Act also encourages NOAA to conduct archaeological and scientific voyages of shipwrecks and submerged sites.  These voyages will lead to a greater discovery of maritime history.  Examples of such sites include the archeological sites of the Attu battlefields and airfields, as well as parts of Kiska Harbor, the battlegrounds of the Aleutian Campaign of World War II.



Source of News:

Office of U.S. Senator Ted Stevens
Web Site


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