News from the DNR Office of Communications

Mid-Atlantic Governors Praise President Obama For Taking Bold Steps to Protect Our Ocean and Foster Its Sustainable Use

New York, NY (December 23, 2009) — Governors David A. Paterson (NY), Jon S. Corzine (NJ), Jack Markell (DE), Martin J. O’Malley (MD), and Timothy M. Kaine (VA), applaud President Obama for his actions to wisely use and protect our ocean for generations to come. The President’s Interagency Ocean Policy Task Force released a draft Framework for Coastal and Marine Spatial Planning on December 14th, detailing a strategy for working across governments, sectors and interests to set the stage for conservation and effective and efficient use of our shared ocean resources. The Governors praise the strategy and call on the federal government to commit the necessary resources and quickly begin working with coastal states to implement this important ocean protection agenda.

This Coastal and Marine Spatial Planning strategy will ensure that we have the necessary science, tools and knowledge to safeguard the important natural resources of our ocean while also helping us achieve our energy and economic goals,” said Governor O’Malley.

Six months ago, the Mid-Atlantic Governors created an interstate structure to advance offshore renewable energy and ocean habitat protection, forming the Mid-Atlantic Regional Council on the Ocean (MARCO). MARCO is also focusing on other critical ocean issues, such as water quality and climate change adaptation, that can benefit from regional coordination.

The release of the draft federal Framework comes on the heels of the Mid-Atlantic Governors convening in New York City last week more than 150 experts from across the region, including advocates, user groups, academics, and ocean policy representatives from five states and the federal government, to identify and commit to take critical steps to help advance the Governors’ ocean agenda.

The Mid-Atlantic region is home to 43 million people. In all five states, the ocean supports robust tourist industries, providing important opportunities for residents and visitors to enjoy outdoor activities such as fishing, swimming, and boating. The region’s ocean waters provide the backbone of waterborne commerce for the nation, hold some of the most valuable fisheries in the country, and serve as critical migratory and feeding grounds for a great diversity of marine mammals, sea turtles, finfish and birds. The region also possesses strong, steady offshore winds that have the potential for generating electricity for the region, creating jobs, and helping us reach our collective greenhouse gas reduction goals.

The draft federal Framework identifies regional ocean councils, including MARCO, to lead offshore spatial planning, in partnership with federal agencies, to help build on the States’ efforts to site new sustainable uses and protect critical habitats. Asserting that the economic return will far surpass the investment, the Governors hope to see dedicated federal support to develop ocean plans. MARCO looks forward to working with the Obama administration and the greater ocean community to prepare wisely for sustainable future ocean uses.

   December 23, 2009

Contact: Josh Davidsburg
410-260-8002 office I 410-507-7526 cell

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