Obama’s Plan for Healthy Oceans
Have you ever enjoyed America’s coast lines, oceans or Great Lakes? Do you want to keep them protected for future generations to enjoy? Then support the conclusions of an Obama Administration task force that our oceans must be protected today.
In a memorandum on July 12, President Obama said, “”We have a stewardship responsibility to maintain healthy, resilient, and sustainable oceans, coasts and Great Lakes resources for the benefit of this and future generations.” In the memorandum, he established an Interagency Ocean Policy Task Force, headed by the White House Council on Environmental Quality.
The task force convened, and on September 17, they released an interim report for a 30-day public review and comment period. Currently, our oceans, coasts and Great Lakes are managed by more than 140 different and often conflicting laws, which leads to poor management and even worse problems.
Pollution, habitat loss, overfishing and climate change provide additional challenges. What we really need is one unifying national policy that will protect, maintain, and restore the health of our ocean ecosystems.
That’s what the Task Force has developed. A Christian Science Monitor article explains:
At its core, the plan would set up a new National Ocean Council to guide a holistic “ecosystem-based” approach intended to elevate and unify what has long been a piecemeal approach by US agencies toward ocean policy and development — from oil and gas exploration to fisheries management to ship transportation to recreation. …
Among the Interagency Ocean Policy Task Force’s national objectives were:
1. Ecosystem-based management as a foundational principle for comprehensive management of the ocean, coasts, and Great Lakes.
2. Coastal and marine spatial planning to resolve emerging conflicts to ensure that shipping lanes and wind, wave, and oil and gas energy development do not harm fisheries and water quality.
3. Improved coordination of policy development among federal state, tribal, local, and regional managers of ocean, coasts, and the Great Lakes.
4. Focus on resiliency and adaptation to climate change and ocean acidification.
5. Pay special attention to policies needed to deal with changing arctic conditions.
All decisions, the interim report says, will be based on the “best available science.” This is a welcome change from the industry-first, environment-later policies of the previous administration. And it needs your support today!
The comment period will end on October 17 — so get your comment in today! Support the Interagency Ocean Policy Task Force’s plan to ensure our oceans and Great Lakes are healthy for inhabitants today and for generations to come.