(From The Press Office of Congressman Jimmy Panetta)
WASHINGTON, DC [11/14/19] – Today, Congressman Jimmy Panetta (D-CA-20) introduced bipartisan legislation to establish National Centers of Excellence at coastal institutions of higher education.
The Coastal Resilience Research and Education Act provides the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) the authority to designate public universities and colleges as National Centers of Excellence in Coastal Resilience Research and Education. Such a designation recognizes institutions of higher education that exhibit national leadership in research and education focused on climate change adaptation and mitigation, and formalizes collaboration and partnerships with federal agencies. These relationships will ensure science-based research, information, and policy recommendations are effectively shared with the federal government.
The bill is cosponsored by Congressman Michael Waltz (R-FL-06), Congressman Harley Rouda (D-CA-48), Congressman Salud Carbajal (D-CA-24), Congressman Steven Palazzo (R-MS-04), Congressman Tom Suozzi (D-NY-03), Congresswoman Anna Eshoo (D-CA-18), and Congressman Cedric Richmond (D-LA-02)
“Our Central Coast communities are increasingly vulnerable to climate change, which threatens our national security, economy, and environment,” said Congressman Panetta. “Coastal colleges and universities are advancing cutting-edge research and development. My legislation improves coordination on coastal resiliency, while advancing climate science research and education to carry our nation towards a more sustainable future.”
“Floridians know the impacts of coastal flooding and beach erosion on our communities. To preserve our coasts and way of life, it’s critical that we leverage the research of public universities to plan for a resilient future. Florida is focused on resilience and stands to benefit from the partnerships authorized in this bill,” said Congressman Waltz.
“Throughout the United States and Mississippi, our public colleges and universities provide critical research about our coastlines. This bill allows those institutions to be designated as National Centers of Excellence and provide expert advice and guidance for our federal agencies focused on coastal resiliency. It’s important to form these partnerships and utilize existing research that will further our understanding of America’s coastlines,” said Congressman Palazzo.
“Sea-level rise and other impacts of climate change on our coastlines, where much of our population and economy are concentrated, have become significant national issues leading to billions of dollars in losses annually. Utilizing the expertise of universities with strength and knowledge in these areas will be an effective and efficient mechanism for transfer of information and guidance to the federal government who must make regular decisions involving the hazards of sea-level rise, coastal flooding and shoreline erosion,” said Gary Griggs, Distinguished Professor of Earth and Planetary Sciences, University of California Santa Cruz.
“With the California State University system’s largest undergraduate program in Marine Science, CSUMB is an institution driving both graduate and undergraduate research in coastal resilience,” stated California State University, Monterey Bay (CSUMB) President Eduardo Ochoa. “We are enthusiastic about Representative Panetta’s legislation and look forward to its passage.”
“The ocean regulates our planet’s weather and climate systems, provides our seafood, buffers the force of storms and supports our economies. Climate change threatens all of these vital services. Coastal communities need tools that will help them mitigate the impacts of climate change and adapt to the impacts already underway. This bill supports the vital role our public institutions of higher learning can play—helping coastal communities build resilience in the face of climate change by providing critical research and innovative climate solutions,” said Margaret Spring, Chief Conservation and Science Officer, Monterey Bay Aquarium.
“Our nation is dependent on our coasts. Resilient shorelines aren’t just important for the millions who call them home but also for the hundreds of millions who depend on our ports for commerce, our military infrastructure for safety and security, and the coastal blue economy for a strong and prosperous national economy. Thanks to Congressman Panetta for introducing legislation that will identify National Centers of Excellence in Coastal Resilience Research and Education to serve as sources of guidance and advice for our federal agencies as they navigate these changing waters. I also appreciate the bill’s focus on partnerships—between institutions of higher learning and between these public universities and the government. The best way to advance our knowledge of the ocean is through partnerships and collaborations amongst all ocean sectors, which are critical to prepare for and mitigate issues like sea level rise, coastal flooding, and shoreline erosion. The bill highlights three programs that do just that: the longstanding National Oceanographic Partnership Program and the National Sea Grant College Program, which enable interagency and public-private partnerships that must happen if we are to successfully address ocean-related challenges, and the newer Coastlines and People initiative of the National Science Foundation that represents the type of broad, interdisciplinary research effort necessary to understand our changing ocean and its impacts,” said Rear Admiral (Ret.) Jonathan White, president and CEO of the Consortium for Ocean Leadership.
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