National Ocean Policy Created

President Obama has issued an Executive Order that creates the nation’s first comprehensive national policy to govern the ocean, coasts and Great Lakes. This landmark effort seeks to provide a comprehensive structure for managing multiple uses in the ocean, ranging from oil and gas extraction and exploration to recreation and much more.

Prior to this new National Ocean Policy, the United States had a regulatory jumble of more than 140 different and often conflicting laws pertaining to ocean management, all of which were overseen by more than 20 separate agencies. What this new policy enables is well-thought-out interaction with the ocean, allowing us to protect sensitive ecosystems while still providing avenues for fishing, shipping and developing renewable energy in ways that minimize the impacts on the environment.

The President’s Interagency Ocean Policy Task Force developed this policy after more than a year of holding hearings, gathering public input and finding coordinated ways for ensuring the protection, maintenance and restoration of the U.S. ocean, coasts and Great Lakes.

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Education Notes in Ocean Policy Task Force Draft Report

The draft report of the Ocean Policy Task Force was released for public comment on September 17.  The draft report is available online, as is a place to submit your comments.
Thanks to the comments from the community earlier in this process, education shows up in a few places in this draft document, i.e.:

* Principle 6 (pg 16) addresses education: “United States policies, programs, and activities should enhance formal and informal education about the ocean, our coasts, and the Great Lakes and their uses to build a foundation for greater understanding and improved stewardship, and build capacity to produce future scientists, managers, and members of a dynamic and innovative workforce.”
* Page 32 on the plan says: “The Plan Should Address:  Challenges, gaps, opportunities, and effective strategies for training and recruiting the current and next generation of disciplinary and interdisciplinary scientists, technicians, operators, managers, and policy makers, with a particular focus on the needs of disadvantaged or under-served communities; and Identification of successful formal and informal education and public outreach approaches, including their application toward a focused nation-wide campaign to build public awareness, engagement, understanding, and informed decision-making, with specific emphasis on the state of ecosystems. “

Interagency Ocean Policy Task Force Interim Report and Upcoming Public Meeting

On September 17, the White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) released its Interim Report of the Interagency Ocean Policy Task Force.  The report is in response to a Memorandum issued by President Obama on June 12 to the Heads of the Executive Departments and Agencies, stating “In order to better meet our Nation’s stewardship responsibilities for the oceans, coasts, and Great Lakes, there is established an Interagency Ocean Policy Task Force, to be led by the Chair of the Council on Environmental Quality.”  The Interim Report provides a preliminary overview of suggested National Policy, Policy Coordination Framework, and Implementation to best meet the President’s charge.  The report is open for a 30 day public comment period.  The Task Force seeks input on its work from interested communities, governments, tribes, businesses, associations, non-governmental organizations and the general public.

On September 24, Obama Administration officials will hold their third regional Ocean Policy Task Force Public Meeting in Providence, Rhode Island.  The public is encouraged to attend and an opportunity for public comment will be provided.  The meeting will take place from 4:00-7:00 p.m. at the Rhode Island Convention Center, Ballrooms D & E, One Sabin Street, Providence, RI 02903.  More information

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Ocean Policy Taskforce Requests Public Comments

The Interagency Ocean Policy Task Force is requesting input on its activities from interested parties. The Task Force asks that comments focus on any of the five key issues identified in the June 12 Presidential Memorandum: a national ocean policy, a framework for policy coordination, implementation strategies, marine spatial planning, and emerging issues on ocean, coasts, and Great Lakes policy.  Presidential Memorandum

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