Thursday, January 12, 2012

Obama Releases Draft National Ocean Policy Implementation Plan

Today, President Obama released his Draft Implementation Plan for advancing a National Ocean Policy in U.S. ocean and coastal waters and the Great Lakes.  The 92-page document outlines 50 actions to collaborate, coordinate and consolidate agency actions to improve the ocean.

Find out more about the Plan HERE.  Contact Clean Ocean Action Citizen Action Coordinator Zach McCue HERE for more information and to find out how you can help.

On the Plan, this Statement from Clean Ocean Action was recently released to the media:

“On the positive side, the Draft Plan clearly lists actions to be taken, identifies the agencies responsible for those actions, and suggests timelines within which those actions should occur.  This level of detail allows the public to hold the Administration responsible for carrying out these plans and coming through on its promises.” 

“The Draft Plan, however, does not answer the questions ‘Will I be able to safely swim at my beach in 5 years?’ or ‘Will there be new oil rigs or industrial complexes built off my beach in the future?’ These are the real questions citizens want answered.”

“The Draft Plan, with its ambitious targets and lofty goals, underscores the need for citizens to get involved in every step of the National Ocean Policy implementation – without independent, local, and robust oversight, this plan could result in a series of reports collecting dust on a bookshelf in D.C.”

“Clean Ocean Action has participated in every step of the development of this Implementation Plan to ensure that it follows through on its commitment to citizen and community involvement,” said Executive Director Cindy Zipf.  “COA is confident that with robust citizen action, this plan can help end ocean pollution and ensure resilient coastal ecosystems.  This plan invites federal agencies to tackle issues that have long plagued the NY/NJ coastlines (like marine debris and plastic pollution) and to back up their initiatives with environmental and education programs.”

Ensuring the health and resiliency of our ocean, coasts, and Great Lakes is crucial to the health of our nation’s economy. Our oceans and coasts support tens of millions of jobs and are a vital part of the U.S. economy.

  • Shore-adjacent counties are home to 108.3 million people, 48.6 million jobs, and contributed $5.7 trillion to the U.S. economy. With only 18% of U.S. land area, these counties accounted for 36% of population and 42% of the national economic output in 2007 [i]
  • In 2008, recreational fishing supported 384,000 jobs and had a support base of 12.4 million anglers, spending $4.9 billion annually, and the commercial seafood industry supported 1.5 million jobs and generated $104 billion in sales impacts [ii]

“The citizens, businesses, and communities along the NY/NJ coasts have been working for decades to ensure that all ocean uses support one another - producing initiatives like the NY/NJ Clean Ocean Zone plan and state-based coast-wide economic forums,” noted Sean Dixon, Coastal Policy Attorney for Clean Ocean Action.  “We look forward to bringing these initiatives, and the citizen who worked on them, to the National Ocean Council – we’ve done the work, now we need our plans implemented.”

[i] National Ocean Economics Program. (2009). State of the Ocean and Coastal Economies, p.6,

[ii] National Marine Fisheries Service. (2010). Fisheries Economics of the United States, 2008. U.S. Dept. Commerce, NOAA Tech. Memo. NMFS-F/SPO-109, p.7,

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