Monday, July 19, 2010

Obama Administration Establishes National Ocean Council

On July 19, 2010, President Obama signed an Executive Order entitled, National Policy for the Stewardship of the Ocean, Coasts, and Great Lakes ("National Policy"). The Order sets forth the first of its kind National Policy and creates a National Ocean Council ("NOC") to strengthen ocean governance and coordination.

The Order is based on final recommendations of the Ocean Policy Task Force ("Final Recommendations"). The Final Recommendations prioritize actions for the NOC to pursue, and it calls for a flexible framework for coastal and marine spatial planning to address conservation, economic activity, user conflict, and sustainable use of the ocean, coasts, and the Great Lakes.

Section 1 of the Order lays out its purpose as follows:
  • establish a national policy to 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,
  • coordinate with our national security and foreign policy interests, and
  • provide for the development of coastal and marine spatial plans that build upon and improve existing Federal, State, tribal, local, and regional decisionmaking and planning processes.
Under Section 2 of the Order, ten policy objectives are identified as follows:
  1. protect, maintain, and restore the health and biological diversity of ocean, coastal, and Great Lakes ecosystems and resources;
  2. improve the resiliency of ocean, coastal, and Great Lakes ecosystems, communities, and economies;
  3. bolster the conservation and sustainable uses of land in ways that will improve the health of ocean, coastal, and Great Lakes ecosystems;
  4. use the best available science and knowledge to inform decisions affecting the ocean, our coasts, and the Great Lakes, and enhance humanity's capacity to understand, respond, and adapt to a changing global environment;
  5. support sustainable, safe, secure, and productive access to, and uses of the ocean, our coasts, and the Great Lakes;
  6. respect and preserve our Nation's maritime heritage, including our social, cultural, recreational, and historical values;
  7. exercise rights and jurisdiction and perform duties in accordance with applicable international law, including respect for and preservation of navigational rights and freedoms, which are essential for the global economy and international peace and security;
  8. increase scientific understanding of ocean, coastal, and Great Lakes ecosystems as part of the global interconnected systems of air, land, ice, and water, including their relationships to humans and their activities;
  9. improve our understanding and awareness of changing environmental conditions, trends, and their causes, and of human activities taking place in ocean, coastal, and Great Lakes waters; and
  10. foster a public understanding of the value of the ocean, our coasts, and the Great Lakes to build a foundation for improved stewardship.
The Order directs all executive departments, agencies, and offices that are members of the NOC to implement the policies set forth in section 2 of the Order, to participate in the process for coastal and marine spatial planning, and to comply with NOC certified coastal and marine spatial plans.

The NOC plans to hold its first meeting later this summer to begin implementing the National Policy.

1 comment:

Lyn said...

There is nobody on this committee who knows aything about the ocean. Meeting tomorrow on Kauai; we shall see if they will "listen" or only "mandate"