President Obama Announces Ocean Protection Plan

WASHINGTON, D.C. (June 12, 2009) - President Obama today announced he will begin the process of creating a national policy for our oceans, coasts and Great Lakes. In a memorandum, President Obama established a taskforce to provide recommendations for the policy and its implementation within the next 90 days, as well as to develop a framework for effective marine spatial planning in the next 180 days.

Following is a statement from Sarah Chasis, Director of the Ocean Initiative at the Natural Resources Defense Council:

“President Obama has taken a critical step toward establishing a comprehensive national ocean policy. Our oceans are currently governed by more than 140 laws and 20 different agencies, each with different goals and often conflicting mandates. Our coastal waters are under the growing stresses of pollution, global warming, overfishing and energy development. We cannot continue to let chaos rule the way we manage our seas.

“We have a Clean Water Act for our water and a Clean Air Act for our air. A Healthy Oceans Policy will establish a national framework for reviving America’s oceans. The President’s additional investment in marine spatial planning will help the country properly manage the various uses of our seas and prevent ocean sprawl, which will prove critical as America moves forward in developing offshore renewable energy.”