Susan Humphris, chair of the Geology and Geophysics Department, testified May 4, 2006, before the House Committee on Resources, one of several WHOI scientists to appear this spring before members of Congress or their staff.
Humphris urged members to pass a bill establishing a national ocean exploration program within the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The bill, sponsored by Rep. H. James Saxton, R-N.J., proposes coordinated efforts by scientists from a variety of disciplines to explore little-known areas of the deep sea.
In her testimony, Humphris said that ocean exploration should be an imperative for the United States in the 21st century. “The alternative—not exploring the oceans—means being satisfied with remaining in the dark about the planet we live on,” she said. “It’s the equivalent of not sending Lewis and Clark to explore the Louisiana Purchase.”
WHOI biologists Laurence Madin and Michael Moore, along with Scott Kraus at the New England Aquarium, gave briefings April 6 before the House Committee on Resources, the House Committee on Science, and the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation on recent research on the endangered North Atlantic right whale.
On May 1, Robert Detrick, the Institution’s vice president for marine facilities and operations, briefed members of the House Appropriations Committee and the House Committee on Science about the Ocean Observatories Initiative to establish a global, integrated network of sea-based observing systems to study the oceans.
On April 3, Jim Luyten (then WHOI vice president, now WHOI’s acting president and director) joined panels of scientists from academia and industry in Masssachusetts who briefed U.S. Reps. Barney Franks and Bill Delahunt, both D-Mass., on marine sciences and technology opportunities.