09/17/2009 - The Obama administration on Thursday released the first glimpse of a plan to strengthen the way the nation manages the oceans, coasts and the Great Lakes.
President Barack Obama's Ocean Policy Task Force—comprised of 24 officials from the U.S. Department of Interior to the U.S. Navy—recommended creating a new National Ocean Council with power to coordinate and hold accountable myriad federal agencies in conservation and marine planning efforts.
"It's the first time that an administration has identified a series of laudable goals for managing the nation's marine environment," said Joshua Reichert, managing director of the Pew Environment Group.
"Runoff of fertilizer is really an issue for the Department of Agriculture, transportation runoff from highways and roads is the Department of Transportation ... municipal discharges from sewer systems is the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. So when you're proposing trying to manage an area of the ocean, you're trying to take into account all of these variables in a very complicated process," Reichert said.
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