Statement by John Adams, NRDC President

WASHINGTON (June 16, 2005) -- A week after the introduction of the National Oceans Protection Act (S. 1224) in the Senate, today saw another oceans restoration bill introduced in the House of Representatives. Like the Senate bill, the bipartisan Oceans Conservation, Education, and National Strategy for the 21st Century Act (HR 2939) --known as "OCEANS- 21" -- comes in response to landmark reports issued in the last two years by the Pew Oceans Commission and the U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy, both of which illuminated the alarming collapse of the seas.

Four co-chairs of the House Oceans Caucus -- Reps. Curt Weldon (R-Penn.), Jim Saxton (R-NJ), Sam Farr (D-Calif.) and Tom Allen (D-Maine) -- introduced Oceans 21 to restore the health of the ocean environment. The bill would establish a comprehensive national policy to protect, maintain and restore marine resources and a coordinated, accountable system for implementing that policy. The bill also contains provisions to improve our nation's approach to ocean science and education.

The following is a statement by NRDC's president, John Adams, who served on the Pew Oceans Commission:

"OCEANS-21 charts a new course in oceans management.

"This bipartisan bill responds directly to the recommendations of the two national commissions, both of which found that our oceans are in trouble. One of the reasons for the plight of the oceans is that no one governmental body is responsible for their overall health. Each problem instead is dealt with individually or on a species by species basis with no one watching out for the health of the whole.

"There are dozens of agencies and hundreds of laws that apply but no cohesive management regime. OCEANS-21 would change that by establishing a cohesive, accountable system of ocean management for our country -- one that would ensure the protection and maintenance of the ocean environment upon which we depend for our health, nourishment and recreation."