Senate Passes Coordinated Ocean Observations and Research Act

The U.S. Senate passed the bipartisan bill, Coordinated Ocean Observations and Research Act of 2020, S. 914, which will improve hurricane forecasting, flood mapping, and storm damage claims. The bill now heads to the President’s desk to be signed into law.  U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker (R-MS) sponsored the bill in March 2019 with original cosponsor U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-WA). The aim of the bill is to renew support for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) ocean data collection network, which is used to predict hurricanes, and improve the flood insurance claims process for homeowners who suffer total losses following a hurricane.

The U.S. House of Representatives gave S. 914 approval on December 3 and the Senate voted unanimously on December 16 to pass the measure.

The bill reauthorizes and makes targeted improvements to the national Integrated Ocean Observation System that coordinates a network of people and technology to generate and distribute a continuous feed of standardized data, information, models, products, and services from the coastal and marine environment across the U.S., according to the bill summary.

Additionally, S. 914 also includes provisions to help NOAA and the Federal Emergency Management Agency implement Sen. Wicker’s COASTAL Act of 2012, which was written to help homeowners recover insurance funds for their property if losses could not be determined to be caused by wind or water, according to the lawmaker’s office.