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CONGRESS RENEWS SEA GRANT PROGRAM FOR FIVE YEARS



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CONGRESS RENEWS SEA GRANT PROGRAM FOR FIVE YEARS

MADISON, Wis. (2/13/98) - The Congress has unanimously passed a bill to
continue the National Sea Grant College Program through the year 2003 that
also provides significant increases in funding for the 30-year-old coastal,
ocean and Great Lakes research and education program. The bill now goes to
President Clinton, who is expected to sign it.

The Sea Grant program consists of 29 university-based programs nationwide.
In the Great Lakes region, this includes programs in Illinois, Indiana,
Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Ohio and Wisconsin.

The bill authorizes an increase in funding for the program of nearly $8
million next year, as well as $1 million increases in federal funding each
year after that, up to a total of $60 million in fiscal 2003.  It also
authorizes annual expenditures of up to $2.8 million for zebra mussel
research and outreach, $3 million for research on oyster diseases and
related human health risks, and $3 million for research on Pfiesteria
piscicida and other toxic algal blooms.

"This is extremely important legislation for the Sea Grant program,"
commented University of Wisconsin Sea Grant Director Anders W. Andren,
chair of the Great Lakes Sea Grant Network. "We are gratified by the
overwhelming support that Congress has shown for Sea Grant.  The additional
funding that Congress recommends will enable us to respond to the important
problems affecting the Great Lakes."

The U.S. Senate lost no time in taking up and passing the Sea Grant
reauthorization bill that the House of Representatives approved  Wednesday
night.  The bill was quickly cleared by the Senate Commerce Committee and,
without further debate, passed by unanimous consent on the Senate floor on
Thursday.

Using an expedited procedure for floor consideration of noncontroversial
bills, the House of Representatives on Wednesday passed the compromise
version of  the Senate bill that had been negotiated between the House
Resources Committee and the Science Committee, chaired by Rep. James
Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.).  All speakers expressed very strong support for the
Sea Grant Program and emphasized its  national importance.  The bill was
passed "without objection," which required no recorded vote. An earlier
version of this bill was passed on a vote of 422-3.

The Sea Grant reauthorization bill had 27 sponsors in the Senate and 107 in
the House.

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Created in 1966, Sea Grant is a national network of 29 university-based
programs of research, outreach and education dedicated to the protection
and sustainable use of the United States' coastal, ocean and Great Lakes
resources.  The National Sea Grant Network is a partnership of
participating coastal states, private industry and the National Sea Grant
College Program, National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration, U.S.
Department 

# # # #

Posted by:

STEPHEN WITTMAN
Assistant Director for Communications
University of Wisconsin Sea Grant Institute
1800 University Ave. * Madison, WI 53705-4094
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 Phone: (608) 263-5371 * Fax: (608) 263-2063
 E-mail: swittman@seagrant.wisc.edu
 URL: www.seagrant.wisc.edu
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