06/08/2011 - The White House's proposed National Ocean Policy earned a vote of confidence from former U.S. EPA Administrator William Ruckelshaus and a blue-ribbon panel of marine experts yesterday, just days before administration officials embark on a nationwide tour to discuss a series of draft action plans aimed at implementing the year-old initiative.
Ruckelshaus was joined by former Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta on Capitol Hill to release a new report by the Joint Ocean Commission Initiative that praises the Obama administration for setting in motion an initiative that has been championed by the environmental community for decades and offers recommendations on how to effectively turn the policy into action.
Chris Mann, who works on ocean issues for the Pew Environment Group, said that while the draft action plans released by the National Ocean Council represent a good first step, many of the actions identified in them are not particularly action-oriented.
"A number of the so-called actions in the plans are conduct a study, produce a report, do an analysis or present something to a working group," Mann said. "I'm not saying they are devoid of action. But I think the pathway to measurable progress is going to require some very specific project-level commitments."
Mann said that while he is glad to see the draft action plans, there is no denying that progress has been slow.
"Given that they have to create this new process, I think it's understandable that there be a substantial buildup before things start happening. ... But people won't be motivated forever by process. I think everybody involved should feel the need for substantial progress by the two-year anniversary of the executive order."
Read the full article Ruckelshaus, Marine Experts Lend Support to Fledgling White House Ocean Initiative on The New York Times' Web site.