May 13, 2021

Whitehouse-Murkowski Bill to Further Understanding of Oceans and Coasts Advances Out of Committee with Bipartisan Support

BLUE GLOBE Act would support innovation, accelerate development of marine technologies, and plan for a stronger maritime workforce

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), co-chairs of the bipartisan Senate Oceans Caucus, have announced that their legislation to advance data collection and monitoring of the Great Lakes, oceans, bays, estuaries, and coasts was approved by the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee. The Bolstering Long-Term Understanding and Exploration of the Great Lakes, Oceans, Bays, and Estuaries Act, or the BLUE GLOBE Act, would accelerate technology innovation, plan for a stronger maritime workforce, and develop a better understanding of the Blue Economy. The bill was approved with a bipartisan voice vote.

“I was proud to see our BLUE GLOBE Act pass out of committee with bipartisan support,” said Senator Whitehouse. “There’s so much we still don’t know about our oceans and coasts. More high-quality research and data will help us plan for the future of the Blue Economy and grow the marine workforce.”

“Building a strong blue economy in this country means intelligently linking growth, economic opportunity, and stewardship of our marine environment. Doing so will offer promising opportunities for supporting our coastal communities and residents, sustainably putting more nutritious seafood on dinner tables across the nation and developing better processes for managing transportation, energy development, and recreation in our coastal and marine zones,” said Senator Murkowski. “By improving monitoring of important bodies of water, we can better protect our marine ecosystems, our marine economy, and those who make their living on our oceans and coasts. The opportunities for safe, sustainable ocean livelihoods are immense.”

The BLUE GLOBE Act would accelerate ocean data and monitoring innovation by giving NOAA Cooperative Institutes a stronger focus on technology advancement, and would create a new electronic monitoring innovation prize for the development of advanced electronic fisheries monitoring equipment and data analysis tools. The bill also directs heads of relevant federal agencies to more accurately measure the value of the Blue Economy.

The bill tasks the National Academy of Sciences with assessing the potential for an Advanced Research Project Agency–Oceans (ARPA-O), and also calls for the National Academy of Sciences to conduct a study on the oceanic scientific workforce and steps the federal government can take to improve workforce diversity, remove barriers to transitioning scientists into federal careers, and develop a workforce program and plan.

The BLUE GLOBE Act was first introduced in the last Congress and was previously approved by the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee in July 2020.

The bipartisan Senate Oceans Caucus works to find common ground in responding to issues facing the oceans and coasts, which support millions of jobs in America. The Oceans Caucus has focused on ending illegal fishing, reducing marine debris, and improving ocean data and monitoring. Whitehouse and Murkowski founded the Caucus in 2011.

Press Contact

Meaghan McCabe, (202) 224-2921