co Meridian

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Institute | 1920 L Street NW, Suite 500 | Washington, DC | 20036 - 5037 202 - 354 - 64 44 tel | 202 - 354 - 6441 fax | The Joint Ocean Commission Initia tive Leade Download


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1 c/o Meridian Institute | 1920 L Str
c/o Meridian Institute | 1920 L Street NW, Suite 500 | Washington, DC | 20036 - 5037 202 - 354 - 64 44 tel | 202 - 354 - 6441 fax | The Joint Ocean Commission Initia tive Leadership Council Chair Nancy Sutley C ouncil on Environmental Quality 722 Jackson Place, NW Washington, DC 20503 Director John Holdren Office of Science and Technology Policy Executive Office of the President 725 17th Street Room 5228 Washington, DC 20502 February 27, 2012 Dear Chair Sutley and Director Holdren, On behalf of the Joint Ocean Commission Initiative, we applaud the National Ocean Council on its recent release of the Draft National Ocean Policy Implementation Plan ( draft plan). We strongly support the National Ocean Policy, and the draft plan is an imp ortant step toward providing needed specificity and clear, actionable guidance about coordinated implementation of the policy. We are pleased to review a draft plan that offers a cohesive for development of an action - oriented final implementation plan that enh ances government accountability by establishing specific commit ments for agency responsibility and providing timeframes for specific actions . We also look forward to a final plan that commits our nation to better understanding our oceans through regular and long term observations and robust scientific analyses. Improving our understanding of ocean ecosystems will be essential to better that are so central to our nation’s wellbeing and economy . Fostering an enduring National Ocean Policy The National Ocean Policy aims to replace the current single - sector management focus with an integrated, science - based, and efficient approach to managing our coastal and oce an ecosystems. We urge the National Ocean Council to move forward with implementation quickly and decisively to ensure that the promise of the National Ocean Policy will endure through ever - the National Ocean Policy in a timely manner by engraining it in agency policies and processes, as well as agency culture, will be critical. In support of this goal, we recommend that the final implementation plan provide additional detail about how federa l agencies will coordinate on the actions outlined in the draft plan and identify resources to support the actions. As the final plan is completed, we encourage the National Ocean Council to require the relevant federal agencies to work together expeditiou sly to identify further specifics about the actions they will take, how they will coordinate in taking those actions, and what resources can be brought to bear to achieve specific goals. Further, we recommend development of an annual work plan that identifi es specific activities, outlines the roles of the various agencies and Co - Chairs The Honorable William Ruckelshaus The Honorable Norman Mineta Members The Honorable Samuel Bodman, Ph.D. Lillian Borrone Vice Admiral Paul Gaffney, U.S. Navy (Retired ) Robert Gagosian, Ph.D. Sherri Goodman Scott Gudes Denis Hayes Paul Kelly Julie Packard The Honorable Pietro Parravano The Honorable John Podesta Diane Regas Andrew Rosenberg, Ph.D. Patten White Former Joint Initiative Co - Chairs Admiral James D. Watkins, U.S. Navy (Retired) The Honorable Leon E. Panetta 2 partners, and identifies specific performa

2 nce measures to track progress on the wo
nce measures to track progress on the workplan. Moving forward decisively yet thoughtfully will be essential to success. Supporting states and regions The National Ocean Policy rightly acknowledges the critical importance of states and regions in our national effort to better manage ocean and coastal ecosystems and economies. In fact, an important purpose of the policy is to coordinate federal support of state - level ocean management efforts. Innovative work is already being conducted in the states and regions, often through collaborative multi - state regional ocean partnerships that are supported by federal agencies. These efforts make a real difference in ocean ecosystems and coastal communities, protecting the resources on which so many jobs depend and bolstering local and state economies. Through these collaborations and other actions, states and r egions are taking a leadership role in implementing the National Ocean Policy. Their leadership going forward will be essential for many reasons, including that many on - the - ground actions called for in the draft plan will require collaboration among states , federal agencies, local governments, and tribes in order to fulfill objectives of the National Ocean Policy. For these reasons, the Joint Initiative recommends that the National Ocean Council provide greater detail in the final implementation plan about how federal agencies will enhance their support for multi - state regional ocean partnerships. Demonstrating renewed efficiency in decision making The ocean - related business community is another key constituency whose support will be essential to the long - term success of the National Ocean Policy. A major promise of the policy for these stakeholders is more coordinated and efficient agency decision making about uses of ocean resources and ocean space. In our view, many in the business community will remai n wary of change until they see a clear connection between the efforts of the National Ocean Council and improvement in the way that government makes decisions about ocean uses. For this reason, we recommend that the National Ocean Council demonstrate the regulatory efficiencies that will be gained through National Ocean Policy implementation through an initial focus on specific sectors or decision making processes. The draft plan calls for bolstering the efficiency of permitting for aquaculture facilit ie s as a starting point for such an effort. While laudable, we encourage the National Ocean Council to expand those efforts by focusing a demonstration effort on an additional sector of the ocean economy that currently makes a major contribution to the broade r United States economy. The effort could be advised by a diverse group of stakeholders that hold interests in regulatory efficiency as well as protection of ecosystem health. We believe both these goals can be achieved and that solutions can be found that win support from across broad viewpoints. Such an effort would allow the Administration to showcase ocean policy reforms as part of its national effort to protect and create jobs, improve government decision making processes, and achieve economic growth w hile still protecting the health of the ecosystems on which all Americans depend. Facilitating effective ocean planning Spatially based planning in our oceans is one tool called for by the National Ocean Policy that can foster greater efficiency and be tter decision makin

3 g about use and conservation of ocean re
g about use and conservation of ocean resources. We 3 believe that more rational ocean planning can prepare our nation for the ocean economy of the future. It can lead to job creation, ecosystem protection, and greater government efficienc y through leveraged resources, and in time be supported by the full diversity of ocean stakeholders. This vision can be realized if ocean planning is carried out with strong stakeholder engagement, robust coordination among federal agencies and states, and timely, clear decision making at the federal level. Additionally, the Joint Initiative believes the use of this tool should be focused on fostering partnerships, leveraging resources, and supporting regional priorities that are grounded in the needs of lo cal communities. The ocean planning effort should also clearly enhance mechanisms for state participation and input into federal decision making and priority - setting processes. To generate the needed support for ocean planning, the National Ocean Council should focus its efforts in those regions that are ready and eager to participate, including those that have robust existing multi - state regional ocean partnerships. The National Ocean Council should also play a strong leadership role where necessary in h elping federal agencies to overcome inter - agency disagreements about how to proceed and ensure they are offering a unified, enthusiastic, and collaborative presence to state partners. This will be easier in some regions than others and may in some cases re quire the National Ocean Council to guide the federal interagency effort with a firm and steady hand. Understanding and managing the Arctic The Arc tic is a resource rich, ecologically vulnerable, and strategically important area of the world that the United States , a major Arctic nation, has significant interest in bet ter understanding and managing. The region serves as a bellwether for how our nation and the international community will address a variety of contentious and highly important issues in t he coming years related to national security, global stability, climate change, ocean ecosystem protection, and safeguard ing vulnerable human communities. We applaud the actions in the draft plan related to enhancing our understanding of physical and biolo gical changes underway in the Arctic ecosystem as well as national and international capabilities for emergency response in the re gion. We urge the National Ocean Council to maintain a sharp focus on the Arctic region in the coming years and ensure that al l available agency resources are brought to bear in a coordinated way to ensure the United States is protecting its economic and national security interests in the region, as well as working with international partners to protect this shared ocean ecosyste m. Emphasizing stakeholder engagement We continue to emphasize the importance of strong stakeholder engagement as the National Ocean Council leads the effort to implement the National Ocean Policy. This will require providing clear and meaningful opport unities for input and feedback on the implementation process from states and the full diversity of stakeholders. It will also require the clear communication of coordinated messages from across federal and state entities, and, in particular, will require c oordination with the existing multi - state regional ocean partnerships to ensure messages are effective, accurate, and deliver

4 ed through the most appropriate tools t
ed through the most appropriate tools to reach stakeholders and key audiences. As a first step, the development of a short, concise version of the final implementation plan will be needed so that the information is accessible and easy for a wide variety of stakeholders to understand. 4 Priori tizing and coordinating science, research , and ocean education efforts Implementation of the National Ocean Policy should be grounded in sound science and the Joint Initiative applauds progress currently being made on the actions outlined in the draft plan related to enhancement of ocean observation, mapping, and data collection and management eff orts. We encourage the National Ocean Council to move more quickly to complete the Ocean Research Priorities Plan than the timeframe outlined in the draft plan so that decision makers can appropriately prioritize funds for ocean research needs in this diff icult budgetary climate. We also recommend emphasis in the final implementation plan on encouraging multi - agency collaboration on ocean science and research efforts through expanded use of the National Ocea n Partnership Program, an effective mechanism for coordinating resources across agencies and focusing them on our nation’s top ocean science priorities. W hile the draft plan discusses the importance of ocean observations and we recognize our nation’s current budgetary constraints, we continue to urge crea tion of an Integrated Ocean Observation System that can inform federal, state, and local decision making that impacts ocean ecosystems. Finally, in order to encourage the development of the next generation of ocean scientists and enhance the public’s under standing of ocean issues, we urge the National Ocean Council to leverage the existing resources of private not - for - profit informal science education providers, as well as to ensure ocean content is included in the next generation of s cience s tandards. Usi ng resources creatively Meaningful progress will be difficult to achieve without sufficient resources. And while these times of fiscal austerity make allocation of new funds for programs explicitly connected to National Ocean Policy implementation challenging to secure, states an d stakeholders who are supportive and ready to move forward need to see a strong commitment from the Administration for the National Ocean Policy. For this reason, we urge the National Ocean Council to work to identify existing federal funds that can be re purposed and resources that can be leveraged across agencies to support implementation priorities. Agencies should also engage closely and collaboratively with states and stakeholders to identify partnerships that can be enhanced with little or no new fund ing. Trying times call for creativity and innovation, and we urge the National Ocean Council to lead a robust effort to make the most of every resource available to ensure our oceans and coasts continue to support American jobs and quality of life into the future. We appreciate the opportunity to provide input to the draft plan and urge the National Ocean Council to move quickly to finalize the plan and proceed with implementing the National Ocean Policy in a timely manner. The Joint Initiative stands rea dy to support and assist you in this important effort. Sincerely, William Ruckelshaus Co - Chair, Joint Ocean Commission Initiative Norman Mineta Co - Chair, Joint Ocean Commission Initiati

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