Tuesday, November 1, 2016
National Ocean Policy
On October 14, six United States Senators, including Senators Booker and Menendez of New Jersey, sent a letter to President Obama regarding the recently released Draft Mid-Atlantic Regional Ocean Action Plan (OAP). The OAP was drafted by the Mid-Atlantic Regional Planning Body, a regional entity comprised of Federal, State, Fisheries Council, and Tribal representatives as part of a national planning exercise mandated by a 2010 President Obama Executive Order which established a National Ocean Policy. The US Senators paralleled many of COA’s concerns, while at the same time praising the need for collaboration among agencies and mapping of ocean resources. The letter reflects a need for the plan to be well-crafted and implemented in order for the tools and goals in the plan to be successful and sought assurances that the designation of “Ecologically Rich Areas” of the ocean would not create sacrificial areas for industrial development. Finally, the letter calls for “robust public and stakeholder engagement” during the finalization and implementation process of the OAP, and illustrates how essential public engagement is in these planning exercises.