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Capital Report


May 2014 Issue

US Senate Committee Passes Sport Fish Safety Act of 2014
The U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation passed S. 2028, the Sport Fish Restoration and Recreational Boating Safety Act of 2014, which seeks to preserve and restore fishing habitats which benefit U.S. sport fishermen, while creating jobs in the recreation industry. The legislation now awaits action by the full Senate.

The legislation would continue direct funding to state agencies for support of fisheries management, habitat conservation, and boating safety programs. The legislation reauthorizes through fiscal year 2021 the Sport Fish Restoration and Boating Trust Fund, which pools roughly $500 million annually in excise taxes on fishing equipment and boating fuel purchases, and allocates the funds on a formula basis to support state programs.

US House Science Subcommittee Examines Science Competitions for R&D
The U.S. House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology's Subcommittee on Research and Technology held a hearing to examine the role of scientific competitions in furthering innovation and scientific discovery. Those testifying included Christopher Frangione, vice president of prize development for XPRIZE (Sea Technology, October 2013), and Donnie Wilson, founder and CEO of Elastec/American Marine (Carmi, Illinois).

Ranking Member Dan Lipinski (D-Ill.) of the subcommittee said, 'One benefit of prize challenges is that the prize is awarded only once a challenge has been met; this allows agencies to incentivize high-risk, high-reward research that generally constitutes only a very small percentage of federally funded research. Prize competitions also attract participants who do not typically seek government grants or contracts.'

The 2010 COMPETES Reauthorization Act is designed to support government agencies' increased use of prizes to incentivize more high-risk, high-reward research.

10 New Members Added To Marine Transportation
System National Advisory Council

Ten new members have been appointed to the Marine Transportation System National Advisory Council (MTSNAC). Established in 2010, MTSNAC is comprised of 29 members from commercial transportation firms, trade associations, state and local entities, labor organizations, academics and environmental groups.

The new members are: Betty Sutton, administrator, Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corp. (SLSDC), Washington, D.C.; William Cook, director, Worldwide Logistics and Customs, Chrysler Group, LLC, Auburn Hills, Michigan; Wayne Darbeau, president and CEO, San Diego United Port District, San Diego, California; Gary Lee Moore, interim executive director, Port of Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California; Captain Lynn Korwatch, executive director, Marine Exchange of the San Francisco Bay Region, San Francisco, California; Charles Fabrikant, executive chairman, SEACOR Holdings, Inc., Fort Lauderdale, Florida; Kevin Schoeben, deputy director, Office of Planning and Programming, Illinois Department of Transportation, Springfield, Illinois; William Friedman, president and CEO, Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority, Cleveland, Ohio; Gary Love, vice president for sales and marketing at FAPS, Inc., Port Newark, New Jersey; and Richard Berkowitz, director of Pacific Coast Operations, Transportation Institute, Seattle, Washington.

Weather Forecasting Improvement Act Passes in US House
The U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 2413, the Weather Forecasting Improvement Act of 2014. The bill directs NOAA to prioritize weather-related activities for the protection of lives and property. This includes coordination between NOAA's research and forecasting operations.

The bill reprioritizes how the Office of Oceans and Atmospheric Research (OAR) lays out its own weather research efforts. The key reprioritization puts a clear process in place that ties the needs of forecasters at the National Weather Service to the research initiatives at OAR.

US House Approves Coast Guard And Maritime Transportation Act
The U.S. House of Representatives unanimously approved the Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Act of 2014, bipartisan legislation that authorizes the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) to carry out its vital missions, improves USCG mission effectiveness, helps replace and modernize aging Coast Guard assets in a cost-effective manner, enhances oversight, reduces inefficiencies to save taxpayer dollars, strengthens U.S. maritime transportation, reduces regulatory burdens to create jobs and encourage economic growth, and improves U.S. competitiveness.

The legislation authorizes the Coast Guard for fiscal years 2015 and 2016, and requires development of a National Maritime Strategy.

Proposed Rule Would Expand Oil, Gas Leases
In Federal Gulf Waters for Revenue Sharing

In accordance with the Gulf of Mexico Energy Security Act of 2006 (GOMESA), the U.S. Department of the Interior's Office of Natural Resources Revenue is publishing a proposed rule in the Federal Register that would expand the number of oil and gas leases in federal waters of the Gulf of Mexico subject to revenue-sharing provisions.

GOMESA provides for sharing 37.5 percent of oil and gas qualified leasing revenues from certain Outer Continental Shelf leases with the four Gulf states and their political subdivisions—or parishes and counties—and 12.5 percent of the qualified revenues to the Land and Water Conservation Fund. The revenue sharing is implemented in two phases.

BOEM's Tommy Beaudreau to be Sally Jewell's Chief of Staff
BOEM Director Tommy Beaudreau is set to become chief of staff to U.S. Interior Secretary Sally Jewell, NOIA reported. Beaudreau will have a more behind-the-scenes role, helping to form Interior Department policy, and will represent Jewell in meetings with lawmakers and stakeholders.

Beaudreau will withdraw his nomination for assistant secretary of Budget, Policy and Management. It is yet unknown who will replace Beaudreau as director of BOEM.


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