National Ocean Policy and Marine Spatial Planning

Obama Administration officials released the Final Recommendations of the Ocean Policy Task Force on July 19, 2010, which would establish a National Policy for the Stewardship of the Ocean, Coasts, and Great Lakes (National Policy) and create a National Ocean Council (NOC) to strengthen ocean governance and coordination.  The Final Recommendations prioritize actions for the NOC to pursue, and call for a flexible framework for coastal and marine spatial planning to address conservation, economic activity, user conflict, and sustainable use of the ocean, our coasts and the Great Lakes. 

The NOC would coordinate across the Federal Government to implement the National Policy.  The Final Recommendations also call for the establishment of a Governance Coordinating Committee to formally engage with state, tribal, and local authorities.  The Final Recommendations are expected to be adopted into an Executive Order by President Obama.

President Obama recognized that our uses of the ocean are expanding at a rate that challenges our ability to manage significant and often competing demands,” said Nancy Sutley, Chair of the White House Council on Environmental Quality.  “With a growing number of recreational, scientific, energy, and security activities, we need a national policy that sets the United States on a new path for the conservation and sustainable use of these critical natural resources.”

On June 12, 2009, President Obama sent a memorandum to the heads of executive departments and Federal agencies establishing an Interagency Ocean Policy Task Force, led by the White House Council on Environmental Quality. The Task Force is charged with developing a recommendation for a national policy that ensures protection, maintenance, and restoration of oceans, our coasts and the Great Lakes. It will also recommend a framework for improved stewardship, and effective coastal and marine spatial planning.

In June 2009, President Obama created the Interagency Ocean Policy Task Force and charged it with developing recommendations to enhance national stewardship of the ocean, coasts, and Great Lakes and promote the long term conservation and use of these resources.  The Task Force was led by CEQ and included 24 senior-level policy officials from across the Federal Government.

At the President’s direction, the Task Force released an Interim Report in September 2009 and an Interim Framework for Effective Coastal and Marine Spatial Planning in December 2009.  Each of these reports was made available online for public comment.  The Task Force received and reviewed close to 5,000 written comments from Congress, stakeholders, and the public before finalizing its recommendations.  The Task Force’s Final Recommendations combine and update the proposals contained in the two earlier reports.

Source: Council on Environmental Quality, The Interagency Ocean Task Force, July 19, 2010.

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