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Though it's in the early stages of development, Obama announced he's creating an Ocean Protection Plan that will provide a comprehensive national policy for protecting seas, coastal areas, and the Great Lakes. Here's how he's going to do it.It's been called one of Obama's biggest environmental challenges, but evidently he feels up for the task. With a water crisis looming, making efficient use of our oceans is more important than ever.
Obama has issued a presidential memorandum calling for the formation of a strategy to protect the ocean, and the creation of an interagency task force that has 90 days to recommend the following: (from NRDC)
1) A national ocean, coastal and Great Lakes policy that, among other things, protects and maintains these important ecosystems.
2) A structural framework for coordinated implementation of the policy.
So yeah--at the moment the plan is about as broad as it gets. But some of the specifics he's called into focus are encouraging. For instance, the matter of sorting out how best to make use of ocean space.
. . . within 180 days the task force is to recommend a mechanism for effective marine spatial planning, which will help prevent "ocean sprawl" -- as we face more and more proposals for offshore energy and other developments in the ocean. This will help move toward a clean, renewable energy future that protects ocean ecosystems.
And it's high time such a policy was made in the ocean's interest--ocean conservation and regulation has been a bureaucratic mess thus far.
. . . right now, our oceans are governed by over 140 laws and 20 different agencies, each with different goals and often conflicting mandates. A national oceans policy can provide the coordinated vision we need to successfully tackle these challenges. Like a Clean Water Act for our water, or a Clean Air Act for our air - a national policy for our ocean, coasts and Great Lakes will establish a national framework for reviving these areas so vital to our environment and economy.
So far so good--of course, how the actual policy shakes down will be the important part. But the first step has been made towards a unified policy for ocean conservation--and that's no small feat.