Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Help Support EcoWatch

Report Card is Out on U.S. Ocean Policy

Joint Ocean Commission Initiative

The Joint Ocean Commission Initiative released its 2012 U.S. Ocean Policy Report Card, praising state and regional efforts to implement the National Ocean Policy that is critical to our national security, coastal economies and the health of our ocean resources. While commending solid steps taken by the administration to begin implementation, it highlights that overall, implementation has fallen short of expectations and Congress has not shown leadership on the issue.

At the press conference, which took place during Capitol Hill Oceans Week, the Joint Initiative urged the Senate to take action on the Law of the Sea Convention and called for national leadership to ensure that we can effectively manage the ocean resources that sustain our nation.

“Implementation of the National Ocean Policy is critical to both our national security and to the health of our oceans and our economy,” said Bill Ruckelshaus, co-chair of the Joint Ocean Commission Initiative. “We cannot let partisan politics threaten our ability to adequately manage ocean resources to improve ocean health and support numerous businesses and jobs around the country.”

The Grades

While the Joint Initiative acknowledges significant efforts in creating the new policy and important initial strides in implementation, it issued a C for national support and leadership on ocean management, an F for failure of the Senate to provide its advice and consent to the president to join the Law of the Sea Convention, and a D- for the lack of federal funding provided to fully implement this critical national policy. In addition to issuing grades in a total of five key categories, the report card makes 15 recommendations to the administration, Congress and the states on how to improve these grades going forward.

“This report card is an important barometer for tracking progress to date on implementing the National Ocean Policy,” said John Podesta, chair of Center for American Progress and Joint Ocean Commission Initiative Leadership Council member. "When fully implemented, this bipartisan policy will pave the way for investment in sensible development and economic growth and protect some of our most treasured natural resources.”

The Joint Initiative urged Senate leaders to push for the U.S. to join the Law of the Sea Convention. Renowned military and national security experts, diverse business leaders including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the American Petroleum Institute, and scientists and environmental advocates support the international treaty. “In this era of hyper-partisanship, ensuring that the U.S. has a leadership role in determining the use and management of international ocean resources should be something everyone agrees on,” said Norman Mineta, co-chair of the Joint Ocean Commission Initiative.

According to the report card, states and regions lead the way in improving ocean management, receiving an A- grade. Regions highlighted include the Gulf of Mexico, Mid-Atlantic, Northeast and Pacific Northwest. The report card praises states for working in difficult budgetary times to address shared ocean issues, to leverage limited resources and prepare for the ocean economy of the future.

To review all of the Joint Ocean Commission Initiative’s recommendations, as well as the full list of grades in each category of ocean policy reform, click here.

Visit EcoWatch's WATER and BIODIVERSITY pages for more related news on these topics.

 

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Residents plant mangroves on the coast of West Aceh District in Indonesia on Feb. 21, 2020. Mangroves play a crucial role in stabilizing the coastline, providing protection from storms, waves and tidal erosion. Dekyon Eon / Opn Images / Barcroft Media via Getty Images

Mangroves play a vital role in capturing carbon from the atmosphere. Mangrove forests are tremendous assets in the fight to stem the climate crisis. They store more carbon than a rainforest of the same size.

Read More Show Less
UN World Oceans Day is usually an invite-only affair at the UN headquarters in New York, but this year anyone can join in by following the live stream on the UNWOD website from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. EST. https://unworldoceansday.org/

Monday is World Oceans Day, but how can you celebrate our blue planet while social distancing?

Read More Show Less
Cryptococcus yeasts (pictured), including ones that are hybrids, can cause life-threatening infections in primarily immunocompromised people. KATERYNA KON/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY / Getty Images

By Jacob L. Steenwyk and Antonis Rokas

From the mythical minotaur to the mule, creatures created from merging two or more distinct organisms – hybrids – have played defining roles in human history and culture. However, not all hybrids are as fantastic as the minotaur or as dependable as the mule; in fact, some of them cause human diseases.

Read More Show Less
National Trails Day 2020 is now titled In Solidarity, AHS Suspends Promotion of National Trails Day 2020. The American Hiking Society is seeking to amplify Black voices in the outdoor community and advocate for equal access to the outdoors. Klaus Vedfelt / DigitalVision / Getty Images

This Saturday, June 6, marks National Trails Day, an annual celebration of the remarkable recreational, scenic and hiking trails that crisscross parks nationwide. The event, which started in 1993, honors the National Trail System and calls for volunteers to help with trail maintenance in parks across the country.

Read More Show Less
Indigenous people from the Parque das Tribos community mourn the death of Chief Messias of the Kokama tribe from Covid-19, in Manaus, Brazil, on May 14, 2020. MICHAEL DANTAS / AFP / Getty Images

By John Letzing

This past Wednesday, when some previously hard-hit countries were able to register daily COVID-19 infections in the single digits, the Navajo Nation – a 71,000 square-kilometer (27,000-square-mile) expanse of the western US – reported 54 new cases of what's referred to locally as "Dikos Ntsaaígíí-19."

Read More Show Less
World Environment Day was put into motion almost fifty years ago by the United Nations as a response to a multitude of environmental threats. RicardoImagen / Getty Images

It's a different kind of World Environment Day this year. In prior years, it might have been enough to plant a tree, spend some extra time in the garden, or teach kids the importance of recycling. This year we have heavier tasks at hand. It's been months since we've been able to spend sufficient time outside, and as we lustfully watch the beauty of a new spring through our kitchen's glass windows, we have to decide how we'll interact with the natural world on our release, and how we can prevent, or be equipped to handle, future threats against our wellbeing.

Read More Show Less

Trending

Experts are worried that COVID-19, a primarily respiratory and airway disease, could have permanent effects on lungs, inhibiting the ability for divers to continue diving. Tiffany Duong / Ocean Rebels

Scuba divers around the world are holding their metaphorical breath to see if a coronavirus infection affects the ability to dive.

Read More Show Less