WASHINGTON, D.C. — The National Oceans Council, of which the Department of the Interior is a member, today released for public comment expanded outlines of action plans to implement President Obama's National Policy for the Stewardship of the Ocean, Our Coasts and the Great Lakes. Kicking off National Oceans Month, the National Oceans Council (NOC) also released information on regional public listening sessions and other ways in which the public can become involved in the stewardship of our nation's oceans.
“President Obama has called upon all Americans to take action to protect, conserve and restore our oceans, coasts and Great Lakes,” Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar said. “There is no better time than National Oceans Month to help shape a National Ocean Policy that ensures clean beaches, abundant seafood and wildlife, a robust economy and jobs, recreational opportunities and sustenance of our coastal communities.”
Starting on June 9 in Washington, D.C., the NOC will host a series of 12 public listening sessions across the country in June. The Department of the Interior on behalf of the NOC will be leading the four listening sessions in Alaska, New Hampshire and New Jersey. Interior's Bureau of Ocean Energy Management Regulation and Enforcement is organizing the June 9 and 10 hearings in Barrow and Anchorage, Alaska, and the June 27 hearing in West Long Branch, New Jersey. Interior's U.S. Geological Survey is organizing the Exeter, New Hampshire hearing on June 30. A list of all 12 NOC hearings can be found here.
In addition, the NOC has launched a month-long online public review period for the strategic action plans, which then will be further developed over the summer to address key challenges facing our ocean, coasts, and Great Lakes. To provide comment on the nine strategic action plans, please visit www.whitehouse.gov/oceans before the end of June.
As part of its NOC membership responsibilities, the Department of the Interior also is hosting a National Oceans Council Coastal Marine Spatial Planning Workshop on June 21-23. Open to the public, participants will include representatives from federal, state, tribal and local authorities; regional fishery management councils, and indigenous communities. Interior also is a sponsor of Capitol Hill Oceans Week from June 7-9 and a partner in presentation of the Coastal America Awards for Corporate Wetlands Restoration on June 17 in Massachusetts.
Building from the Executive Order issued by President Obama in July 2010 that established the National Ocean Policy and the NOC charged with implementing the policy, the regional public engagement sessions mark the latest milestone in implementing an ocean policy that addresses the most critical issues facing our oceans. The nine strategic action plan outlines released today reflect previous input about these issues from the public and experts from the 27 federal agencies and offices participating in the NOC. They will be revised again following the hearings and public comment.
Ocean, coastal and Great Lakes responsibilities managed by the Department of the Interior include: