The Senate passed the Omnibus Public Land Management Act of 2009 today, according to our favorite Washington insider Sheril Kirshenbaum over at The Intersection . This is exciting because the bill invokes deep-sea research priorities, including shipwreck and seamount studies, among other things. Write or call your Representative! Sheril says this could become the new President’s first bill to be signed into law. I’ve excerpted some of the relevant language below:
SEC. 12001. PURPOSE. — The purpose of this part is to establish the national ocean exploration program and the national undersea research program within the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
In carrying out the program authorized by section 12002, the Administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration shall—
(1) conduct interdisciplinary voyages or other scientific activities in conjunction with other Federal agencies or academic or educational institutions, to explore and survey little known areas of the marine environment, inventory, observe, and assess living and nonliving marine resources, and report such findings;
(2) give priority attention to deep ocean regions, with a focus on deep water marine systems that hold potential for important scientific discoveries, such as hydrothermal vent communities and seamounts;
(3) conduct scientific voyages to locate, define, and document historic shipwrecks, submerged sites, and other ocean exploration activities that combine archaeology and oceanographic sciences.