Friday, June 12, 2009

President Obama Announces a National Oceans Policy

President Obama today announced a formation of a study group to form a national policy regarding the ocean:

Washington, June 13 (DPA) US President Barack Obama Friday ordered federal agencies to come up with a common national policy to protect the country’s coastlines, oceans and major lakes.
US coasts and oceans - as well as the Great Lakes along the northern border with Canada - are currently managed by a patchwork of state laws and agencies.

Obama issued a presidential memorandum instructing a new taskforce to come up with recommendations for a comprehensive national policy within 90 days.

Alaska's junior Senator, Mark Begich, issued this statement, following President Obama's announcement:

As the state with the most coastline and most ocean area within our extensive 200-mile limit, I welcome President Obama’s announcement of forging a new national policy for oceans and coasts.

Oceans play a crucial role in Alaska’s economy. The oceans sustain Alaska’s commercial fisheries which provide over 60% of the nation’s total catch. Rural Alaskans depend on the ocean to sustain fisheries resources that meet their subsistence needs, while urban Alaskans enjoy some of best recreational fishing in the world. Millions of visitors are drawn north to view our spectacular shoreline and the North Pacific is a major transportation corridor for international commerce.

Yet today the health of our oceans is in trouble. Warming temperatures, a diminished icepack and increased acidification are affecting fish stocks, marine mammals and entire coastal communities.

The change is opening new opportunities. Reduction of the Arctic icepack could open new transportation corridors and allow expansion of resource development such as oil and gas, although these opportunities also carry great risks.

For all those reasons, now is an appropriate time to take a new look at the nation’s oceans policy and Alaska has a lot to contribute to the discussion. Our fisheries are managed for sustainability, and are considered among the best managed in the world. We’ve learned the lessons from past marine disasters; incorporate new technology in monitoring and assessing our waters and involve our communities and indigenous people and their local, traditional knowledge.

Alaska also has the most at stake from a new national oceans policy and we need to be at the table when these discussions take place. A new oceans policy must be science-driven and there are major research gaps that need to be addressed first.

For all these reasons, we welcome the move toward a new oceans policy and look forward to working with the Obama Administration to make sure the new national oceans policy reflects Alaska concerns as well as the lessons we have learned in 50 years of stewardship.

The composition of the working group hasn't yet been announced, but odds are that the new National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration Administrator, Jane Lubchenco, will have an important, if not the lead, role. It is becoming relevant that Sen. Begich was the only favorable Senator to closely question Lubchenco during her nomination hearing.

Dr. Lubchenco has been closely associated with the Pew Trust's Marine Conservation Campaign, which has promoted a national oceans policy for years. Just this past week, Dr. Lubchenco gave the keynote address at the Capitol Ocean Week Symposium, where topics in Obama's new policy were discussed. Among them:

  • Charting the Course: Enacting a National Ocean Policy
  • Feeding a Nation: The Role of Fishing and Aquaculture in Today's Economy
  • Tools and Technology: Exploring and Creating an Ocean Infrastructure
  • Information that Moves America
  • Traveling from Sea to Shining Sea: Tourism's Influence on the Ocean and the Economy
  • Fueling the Future: The Ocean's Role in a Comprehensive Energy Policy
  • All Farms are Coastal: The Link between the Ocean and Agriculture
  • Drugs from the Deep: The Ocean's Role in Modern Health Care
  • An International Perspective: Natural Resource-Based Economies in the Coral Triangle
  • Marine Spatial Planning: The Science, Business, and Policy Case

image - Dr. Jane Lubchenco


Vernon Malcolm said...

Now that the anti-science, superstition-based initiative presidency is over, we need Manhattan projects to make us great again and boost us out of this Grotesque Depression. First we must provide free advertising-based wireless internet to everyone to end land line monopolies. Better yet, renationalize the telephone companies like in 1917 and now put them and the DTV fiasco and the internet under a renationalized post office. Then we must criscross the land with high speed rail. Because bovine flatulence is the major source of greenhouse gases, we must develop home growable microbes to provide all of our protein. Then we must create microbes which turn our sewage and waste into fuel right at home. This will end energy monopoly by putting fuel in our hands. We must finally join the metric system and take advantage of DTV problems to create a unified global standard for television and cellular telephones instead of this Anglo Saxon competitive waste. We must address that most illness starts from behavior, especially from parents. Since paranoid schizophrenia is the cause of racism, bigotry, homelessness, terrorism, ignorance, exploitation and criminality, we must provide put the appropriate medications, like lithium, in the water supply and require dangerous wingnuts who refuse free mental health care to be implanted with drug release devices. Churches should be licensed to reduce supersition and all clergy dealing with small children should be psychiatrically monitored to prevent molesting. Osama bin Laden and Timothy McVeigh were the ultimate superstition based initiatives. Aborting future terrorists and sterilizing their parents is the most effective homeland security. Preganancy is a shelfish, environmentally desturctive act and must be punished, not rewarded with benefits, preference and leave. Widen navigation straits (Gibraltar, Suez, Malacca, Danube, Panama and Hellspont) with deep nukes to prevent war. In order to fund this we must nationalize the entire financial, electrical and transportation system and extinguish the silly feudal notion that each industry should be regulated by its peers. Technology mandates a transformation of tax subsidies from feudal forecloseable debt to risk sharing equity. Real estate and insurance, the engines of feudalism, must be brought under the Federal Reserve so we may replace all buildings with hazardous materials to provide public works. Insects, flooding and fire spread asbestos, lead and mold which prematurely disables the disadvantaged. Disposable manufactured housing assures children are not prematurely disabled and disadvantaged. Because feudalism is the threat to progress everywhere, we must abolish large land holdings by farmers, foresters or religions and instead make all such large landholding part of the forest service so our trees may diminish greenhouse gases. Darwin led to the worst colonial, militarist, attrocity and stock market abuses in history - Lamarkian inhertiance and mitochondrial DNA show that Darwin was not all he is crackered up to be. We must abolish executive pay and make sure all employees in a company are all paid equally. We must abolish this exploitative idea of trade and monopoly and make every manufactured disposable cottage self sufficient through the microbes we invent. Southern Oligarchs destroyed the Democarts in the sixties and destroyed the Republicans this decade - they would not allow viable candidates like Colin Powell, Mitt Romney or Condi Rice to even be considered!

Julie said...

President Obama Announces a National Oceans Policy..

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