Ocean Laws: 2020 in Review

Updated: Apr 2

2020 was unprecedented in a lot of ways - and this includes the flurry of ocean and environment-related bills becoming law as we closed out the year and the 116th Congress.

Below is a non-exhaustive list of bills we tracked this year that have (or are imminently expected to) become law:

  • H.R. 133, the Omnironabus (as we call it) which includes all 12 appropriations bills, COVID relief, the energy package, and the Water Resources Development Act. See previous ESP Advisors update, or this document for a full ocean policy-related summary.

  • H.R. 6395, the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2021, which includes language supporting the National Oceanographic Partnership Program (NOPP), Jones Act clarification for offshore wind, and provisions aimed at addressing IUU fishing globally.

  • H.R. 1957, the Great American Outdoors Act, which provides $900 million annually for the Land and Water Conservation Fund, which uses revenues from offshore oil and gas drilling for a host of conservation projects around the country.

  • S. 914, Coordinated Ocean Observations and Research Act of 2020, which reauthorizes through FY2024 and revises the Integrated Coastal and Ocean Observation System (IOOS), as well as new tools and forecasts to improve safety, enhance the economy, and protect the environment.

  • S. 910, The National Sea Grant College Program Amendments Act of 2020, which reauthorizes the Sea Grant program for five more years and strengthens the Knauss Fellowship program.

  • S. 1982, Save Our Seas 2.0 Act, the second of two bipartisan bills aimed at addressing marine debris nationally and globally.