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Public Statements

Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2013

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. DICKS. As I understand it, the American Community Survey is authorized by law and has been upheld by the courts. The ACS is authorized under Title 13, U.S. Code, the Census Act. On numerous occasions, the courts have judged that the Constitution gives Congress the authority to collect data on characteristics of the population in the census. As early as 1870, the Supreme Court characterized as unquestionable the power of Congress to require both an enumeration and the collection of data in the census. Is that your understanding?

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Mr. DICKS. Will the gentleman yield?

Mr. FATTAH. I yield to the gentleman.

Mr. DICKS. I concur with the gentleman. This is an effort to overturn a law that was passed in 2007 that says we're going to try to do the most energy-efficient approach to running the government. I mean, I think it's common sense, and I urge a ``no'' vote on this amendment.

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Mr. DICKS. Will the gentleman yield?

Mr. HASTINGS of Washington. I will be happy to yield to my friend from Washington.

Mr. DICKS. Let me just say that one of the problems we have is with runoff from agricultural lands that goes into the Chesapeake Bay, that goes into Puget Sound, that goes into the ocean, and that has to be dealt with in order to protect the oceans.

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Mr. DICKS. I rise in strong opposition to the amendment.

The implementation of the National Ocean Policy will help to protect, maintain, and restore our ocean, coastal, island, and Great Lakes ecosystems, which provide jobs, food, and recreation, and serves as a foundation for a substantial part of our Nation's economy. Only healthy, functioning, and resilient marine and freshwater ecosystems can support the fisheries which we depend on so heavily.

Across the continental United States, our coastal and ocean ecosystems are suffering from an outdated issue-by-issue approach to stewardship and management. We are already seeing the threats posed by ocean acidification, low dissolved oxygen, harmful algal blooms, and dead zones in the gulf, the Chesapeake, Puget Sound, and throughout our Nation's coastal waterways. The National Ocean Policy would help us better address the cumulative threats to our aquatic ecosystems from overfishing, coastal development, storm water run-off, carbon emissions, and other pollutants entering our waterways; and it will also help us balance the many overlapping ocean uses.

The core approach of the National Ocean Policy is to improve stewardship of our oceans, coasts, islands, and Great Lakes by directing government Agencies with differing mandates to coordinate and work better together. The National Ocean Policy creates no new authorities. The result of increased coordination will be better stewardship of our national heritage through improved government efficiency, better development and use of data and information and a process of open and transparent stakeholder engagement that informs decision-making. This increased coordination between Agencies is the sort of effort that needs to be taking place on a Federal level in order to reduce inefficiency, waste, and redundancy among Agencies.

The National Ocean Council brings together State, local, and tribal governments and all of the ocean's users--including recreational and commercial fishermen, boaters, industry, scientists, and the public--to better plan for, manage, harmonize, and sustain uses of ocean and coastal resources.

The virtue of the National Ocean Policy is that it develops and facilitates the planning process, deals with many overlapping ocean uses, and expedites the approval process of new uses being introduced. The National Ocean Policy offers an avenue for thoughtful planning and is the best choice for those stakeholders looking to be involved in the process or at least having some voice in the discussion.

While not required to participate, most States and regions see the benefit of marine planning as a way to leverage their interests and achieve desirable outcomes.

I would say to my friend from Texas, in the Pacific Ocean, there are debris fields the size of the State of Texas. Now, if you think we're taking care of our oceans, if we're taking care of our rivers and streams and lakes, you are, at best, ill-informed. We need a national effort, an international effort--to clean up the oceans and protect them. And what do we get from the Republicans? A non-science, nonfactual approach to this problem. It's disgusting, to say the least.

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Mr. DICKS. I will just say to my friend, there is a problem with fertilizer runoff from agricultural lands. We've got it in the Puget Sound. These are serious matters that have to be dealt with, and to look the other way is not a solution.

I yield to the gentleman.

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