AGRICULTURE, RURAL DEVELOPMENT, FOOD AND DRUG ADMINISTRATION, AND RELATED AGENCIES APPROPRIATIONS ACT, 2004-CONTINUED
Mr. KENNEDY. Mr. President, I commend Chairman BENNETT and Senator KOHL for their help in obtaining funds for cranberry research in the Agriculture appropriations bill. Cranberry production is an issue of great importance to Massachusetts, and I hope that the Manager's will continue to work with Senator KERRY and me to obtain $280,000 for the University of Massachusetts Cranberry Station in Wareham for a complete renovation of the State Cranberry Bog.
The State Cranberry Bog provides income for Cranberry Station operations. More importantly, it is a research site for the Cranberry Station faculty and students. The bog is especially useful for conducting research not appropriate for cranberry farms in production. The faculty and students are able to use the facility to conduct research on new pesticide alternatives, or research that involves changes in practices not yet adopted by farmers.
Unfortunately, over time, the average yield of the state facility has declined because of its research activities, and the bog itself, built on peat, has begun to sink. The funds that Senator KERRY and I have requested will be used for a complete renovation of the bog, so that the Cranberry Station will again be able to conduct cutting-edge research plant physiology, pest and nutrient management, and irrigation management. The renovation will also enhance the Station's ability to demonstrate new technologies and practices as part of its educational mission. All of these activities contribute to both the economic health of the local economy and the overall vitality of the nation's cranberry industry.
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FUNDING FOR SEAFOOD SAFETY
Mr. KENNEDY. Mr. President, I commend Chairman BENNETT and Senator KOHL for their effective work on the Agriculture appropriations bill. I particularly commend Senator KOHL for his help in obtaining $422,000 for Seafood Safety in Massachusetts. I'm hopeful that two worthwhile research programs-the Safe Seafood Project at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst, and the Center for Marine Phytoremediation Technologies at Northeastern University will be funded in the Fiscal Year 2004 Agriculture appropriations conference report.
In recent years, the Department of Agriculture, through the Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Services, has awarded grants to the University of Massachusetts, Amherst for their work on the Safe Seafood Project. The goal of this project is to provide useful, science-based recommendations to enhance the seafood industry's potential for producing safe, economically viable products. It is essential for the project to receive funding again this year in order to continue its essential work on seafood quality and health.
Northeastern University is also an impressive research university on marine issues. Funding will be used by the Center for Marine Phytoremediation Technologies to develop techniques employing marine plants to eliminate pollutants that result from fish aquaculture, as well as toxic materials found in our waters, such as mercury and TNT. The Center will also establish methods for restoring seagrass habitats where they have been destroyed.
We know that waste from the increasing number of fish aquaculture facilities leads to the production of harmful algae and the destruction of other marine life. If these problems continue, the fish aquaculture industry cannot be sustained, since it will cause greater risks in eating fish, and also endanger seagrass habitats, which are critical to the coastal economy of many states.
Mr. KERRY. Mr. President, I would like to take this opportunity to express my appreciation for the efforts of Chairman BENNETT and Senator KOHL for their work in developing the Fiscal Year 2004 Senate Agriculture Appropriations bill. Their work is especially noteworthy because of the difficult authorization level set by the Budget Resolution. I would like to express my support for the comments made by Senator KENNEDY regarding the Center of Marine Phytoremediation Technologies at Northeastern University. The Center has developed a proposal which I believe is an important opportunity to develop new technologies and help eliminate pollutants from fish aquaculture. This research can help the marine life in our oceans and eliminate pollutants from the seafood we enjoy. It is my hope that Senator KENNEDY and I could work with the Manager's of this legislation to make sure that these important programs receive funding in the Fiscal Year 2004 Agriculture appropriations conference report.
Mr. KOHL. I agree with both Senator KENNEDY and Senator KERRY on the importance of funding food safety initiatives, and I am glad we were able to obtain funding for seafood safety research in Massachusetts.
The University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and Northeastern University have impressive programs vital to improving marine issues and seafood safety. I will continue to work with both Senator KENNEDY and Senator KERRY, as the bill progresses, and do what I can to see that these resources are available to these institutions.