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NH Delegation Applauds $94 Million in NOAA Funding for Ocean Exploration Cooperative Institute

(Washington, DC) – U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), the Ranking Member on the Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies (CJS) Appropriations subcommittee, and U.S. Senator Maggie Hassan (D-NH) and Representatives Annie Kuster (D-NH) and Chris Pappas (D-NH) today applauded the announcement of a $94 million grant over five years from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to the newly created Ocean Exploration Cooperative Institute, which will be led by a consortium that includes the University of New Hampshire (UNH).

The purpose of the new institute will be to explore the three billion acres of underwater United States ocean territory to strengthen and promote its economic use, assist in the responsible management of its resources and increase scientific understanding. As the home of the renowned Center for Coastal and Ocean Mapping/Joint Hydrographic Center (CCOM/JHC), UNH will assist the consortium in mapping this territory with a variety of novel technological and scientific techniques that will address NOAA’s vision of expanding existing knowledge of this territory. As the lead Democrat of the CJS Appropriations subcommittee, which funds NOAA programs and projects, Shaheen has been a strong advocate for protecting and increasing funding for the agency. In this and last year’s budget, Shaheen worked to protect NOAA from extreme budget cuts sought from the Trump administration.

“I am pleased to have secured these funds for ocean exploration, which will provide us with a greater understanding of the world’s oceans,” said Senator Shaheen. “I look forward to seeing the University of New Hampshire contribute to the consortium as a world-class leader in ocean mapping and hydrographic sciences and will continue to work to ensure that our researchers have the necessary tools and resources needed to achieve these objectives.”

“We have yet to explore and understand so much of the ocean, with this award the University of New Hampshire will be able to explore the mysteries of about three billion acres of ocean, increasing our ability to safeguard this important resource,” Senator Hassan said.

“There has never been a greater need to improve our understanding of our nation’s underwater territory. I look forward to the role the University of New Hampshire will play in strengthening the Blue Economy and stimulating job creation,” said Rep. Kuster. “I am proud of the UNH faculty and staff who will be at the forefront of ocean exploration as part of the Ocean Exploration Cooperative Institute.”

“Thanks to this award from NOAA, the University of New Hampshire will be on the cutting edge of exploration and discovery into our planet’s most vast and undiscovered treasure,” said Rep. Pappas. “This is an incredible research opportunity that will spur interest in our oceans and environmental protection.”