The National Ocean Council, of which the Department of the Interior is a key member, today released the draft National Ocean Policy Implementation Plan, as described in the following White House release. The public can read the draft plan and submit comments at www.whitehouse.gov/oceans until Feb. 27.
“President Obama has displayed historic leadership in setting priorities to address the most pressing threats facing our oceans,” Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar said today. “Water is the lifeblood of our planet, and America's treasured coasts and seas make up a significant part of Interior's stewardship portfolio. Implementing this plan is a major priority for Interior and its agencies.”
Interior's bureaus – including the U.S. Geological Survey, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, National Park Service, Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement, Bureau of Indian Affairs, Bureau of Land Management, and Office of Insular Affairs – are actively involved in the Interagency Ocean Policy Task Force. Some examples of particular contributions to National Ocean Policy planning by the department and its bureaus include:
Obama Administration Releases Action Plan to Address Ocean Challenges
WASHINGTON – Today, the Obama Administration released a National Ocean Policy action plan to address the most pressing challenges facing ocean, coastal, and Great Lakes resources. The draft requests comments on actions the Federal Government will take to improve the health of the ocean, coasts, and Great Lakes, which support tens of millions of jobs, contribute trillions of dollars a year to the national economy, and are essential to public health and national security.
The draft action plan will ensure the Federal Government targets its resources to more effectively and efficiently deliver results for Americans, including greater predictability for ocean users and better access to the latest science and information related to ocean health. The actions reflect ideas and input from industry, conservation groups, local officials, the public and other stakeholders who provided critical feedback to the National Ocean Council through two public comment periods and 12 regional listening sessions.
“When President Obama created the National Ocean Policy, he marked a landmark step toward addressing the challenges that face the health of our ocean and coasts, and the economies they support” said Nancy Sutley, Chair of the Council on Environmental Quality and Co-Chair of the National Ocean Council. “This action plan will help focus our resources on actions that will enhance the stewardship of coastal and marine resources on which so many communities, small businesses, and American jobs depend.”
“This plan reflects a number of overarching priorities of the Obama Administration—including a commitment to scientific data as an important basis for decision-making and a commitment to transparency and openness as we ensure that the interests of all stakeholders, from recreational beach-goers to fishermen and farmers, are taken into account,” said John P. Holdren, Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and Co-Chair of the National Ocean Council.
Ocean and coastal resources are under pressure from growing and often competing uses, such as national security, recreation, shipping, energy production, and commercial fishing, as well as from pollution, resource extraction, and climate change. The draft Implementation Plan focuses on public-private partnerships, promoting efficiency and collaboration across sectors, managing resources with an integrated approach, and making available and using the best science and information on ocean health. The plan, which is available for public comment through February 27th, outlines key milestones, identifies responsible Federal agencies, and indicates the expected timeframe for completion of Implementation Plan actions including:
The plan also makes it a priority to:
To read the draft Implementation Plan and submit comments, please visit www.whitehouse.gov/oceans.
The National Ocean Policy, established by Executive Order 13547 on July 19th, 2010, provides that Federal agencies will “ensure the protection, maintenance, and restoration of the health of ocean, coastal and Great Lakes ecosystems and resources, enhance the sustainability of ocean and coastal economies, preserve our maritime heritage, support sustainable uses and access, provide for adaptive management to enhance our understanding of and capacity to respond to climate change and ocean acidification, and coordinate with our national security and foreign policy interests.” The Policy also called for the creation of an interagency National Ocean Council to oversee the Policy's implementation. For more information about the Council please visit www.whitehouse.gov/oceans.