Full funding for the NOAA lab on Pivers Island near Beaufort is included in a bill that the full House Appropriations Committee will take up on Thursday, U.S. Reps. David Price and Walter Jones announced on Monday.
President Barack Obama’s 2015 budget request had proposed closing the lab despite its decades of contributions to marine science. The lab is the only government facility between New Jersey and Miami studying Atlantic fish populations.
It’s also part of a hub of ocean science research that also is made up of university marine science labs nearby.
The appropriations bill for Commerce, Justice, science and related agencies includes the funding for the lab, and the full committee is likely to accept it.
The Senate Appropriations Committee also will have to approve.
“The Beaufort NOAA Lab is the focal point for federal, state and university-based marine and fisheries research in North Carolina,” Price, a Democrat from Chapel Hill and a member of the Appropriations Committee, said in a statement. “I’m very pleased we were able to work together secure this funding because the lab has a significant economic impact, and it is critical to maintaining the competitiveness of our state’s research enterprise.”
“The Beaufort lab is both an integral part of the local economy and an important provider of scientific research affecting the entire East Coast,” said Jones, a Republican from Farmville. Beaufort and the lab are in his district.
Jones said he was grateful to Frank Wolf, the chairman of the Appropriations Committee subcommittee in charge of science, for working with him and other members of Congress from North Carolina to keep the lab open.
Jones and Price also asked that the report include a requirement that the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration submit a report on all its National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science facilities on maintenance costs and how closing any of them would affect research.