Alaskan Congressman Don Young has introduced the Hydrographic Services Improvement Act Amendments of 2013, legislation aimed at furthering America's knowledge of the nation's coasts, shipping routes, and waterways -- with an added emphasis on the Arctic - through research and surveys.
"Hydrographic surveys are an essential part of maritime safety, economic and environmental efforts nationwide, but are especially important in the Arctic. The Arctic is seeing increased commercial traffic, resource development and exploration each and every day," Rep. Young said. "As the race to the Arctic continues, we must have abundant, accurate data to support safe navigation, claims to the U.S. Outer Continental Shelf, and management of resources. The legislation introduced will do just that."
The Hydrographic Services Improvement Act was originally introduced and passed in 1998 with Congressman Young' s support as then Chairman of the House Resources Committee. In 2002, Congressman Young was the sponsor of the reauthorization that was signed into law. This legislation was last reauthorized in 2008 by the late Senator Daniel Inouye (D-HI), after passage of the House bill again sponsored by Congressman Young.
H.R. 1399 would reauthorize HSIA of 1998 at FY2012 funding levels, while requiring $7 million per year toward Arctic hydrographic work, while limiting the administrative costs on contracts to 5%. Also found in the legislation is a GAO study comparing the costs associated with conducting hydrographic surveys by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the cost of using contractors.