Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse Votes With The Fishes
Sen. Whitehouse and a top advisor (Photo: Munich Security Conference, Creative Commons License 3.0)

Yr Editrix assigned me to look into this press release from Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-Rhode Island Not Maine, Dok, jeez), touting "Major ocean policy wins in the NDAA," and by golly, it definitely sounds like there are indeed some very good policy items for the watery part of the world in there. OK, there's your Melville reference, nerds!

The annual National Defense Authorization Act is one of those must-pass bills that Congress is trying to get finished before Republicans take over the House, so it's a good place to toss in a lot of legislation that gets stuff done as long as you can credibly say it's related to defense and national security. That certainly applies to Whitehouse's offerings, which are aimed at doing a bunch of needed science stuff in the oceans, including beefing up ocean mapping and monitoring by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), which may not sound terribly sexy but is vital for gathering data on climate change, among other science facts.

Whitehouse also touts the inclusion in the NDAA of the BLUE GLOBE Act, which he's co-sponsoring with Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), and if you were betting that's an acronym for some ungodly string of words about oceanic matters, it sure is! The full name is the "Bolstering Long-Term Understanding and Exploration of the Great Lakes, Oceans, Bays, and Estuaries" Act, and again, it's a package of good oceany things that will mean jobs and science and also some national defense things like protecting fisheries from "Illegal, Unreported, and Unregulated" fishing, which has its own abbreviation too (IUU fishing). The bill is actually a follow-up to another oceans bill that Whitehouse and Alaska's other senator, Dan Sullivan (R), advanced in last year's NDAA.

This is good news too for newly reelected Rep. Mary Peltola (D-Alaska), who ran on a "pro-fish" platform that emphasized her state's fishing economy and the need to preserve the damned ecosystem, which is difficult to do if you have overfishing.

Much of the Blue Globe stuff is, like several parts of the Climate bill, aimed at promoting technology development that will drive new technology, and while it may not get people shouting at legislators at town halls, it's kind of neat, like establishing an "ocean innovation prize" and asking the National Academy of Sciences to explore the possibility of creating an ocean-focused "Advanced Research Project Agency–Oceans (ARPA-O)" that would develop new tech, like the innovation programs that already exist for energy and health technology.

Also, while we were writing this, the community radio station played PJ Harvey's "Down by the Water," and it's difficult not to find some kind of omen in lyrics like "little fish, big fish, swimmin' in the water, come back here and gimme my daughter."

Sen. Whitehouse will probably help out with that, too!

[Sheldon Whitehouse / BLUE GLOBE press release / Whitehouse photo: Munich Security Conference, Creative Commons License 3.0]

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Doktor Zoom

Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.


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