Chairman Rockefeller Statement on the Interagency Ocean Policy Task Force Interim Report

September 17, 2009

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Senator John D. (Jay) Rockefeller IV, Chairman of the U.S. Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, issued the following statement in response to the Interim Report released today by the Interagency Ocean Policy Task Force:
“The Blue Economy – jobs and economic opportunities that emerge from our oceans, Great Lakes, and coastal resources – generates more than 50 percent of our nation’s Gross Domestic Product and provides over 70 million jobs to Americans.  Simply put, the economic health of America is undeniably linked to the riches of our oceans and coasts. Given that NOAA plays an integral role in ensuring that this vital resource is developed responsibly, it is crucial that we continue to strengthen this important agency’s capabilities with increased funding. Our oceans, coasts, and Great Lakes deserve to be healthy, resilient, and sustainable resources for the benefit of this and future generations.”
The Commerce Committee has a longstanding interest in comprehensive ocean planning and has developed legislation that balances environment protection and human uses, from habitat protection and national marine sanctuaries to commercial fishing, offshore thermal energy conversion, and maritime shipping lanes. The Committee is charged with the comprehensive study and review of all matters relating to science and technology and oceans policy, and has oversight responsibility for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP).