Friday, September 05, 2008

Info from the White House

The Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) Committee on Ocean Policy has a website including information on the Pacific Marine Conservation Assessment. In an effort to keep my two readers informed I have reposted the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ):

Pacific Marine Conservation Area Assessment Questions and Answers

1. What is the President considering as part of this assessment?

The President has asked the Secretaries of the Interior, Commerce, Defense and the Chairman of the White House Council on Environmental Quality to advise him as to whether there are areas in the Pacific Ocean including remote islands and surrounding waters of scientific or historical interest that warrant further recognition, protection, or could benefit from improved coordination of management. The Secretaries will gather information and provide it to the President, who will then decide on any actions.

2. What authorities can the President use to take action?

The President has asked for advice on the potential use of one or more authorities including for example, by executive order, the Magnuson Stevens Fishery and Conservation Act, National Marine Sanctuaries Act, National Wildlife Refuge System Administration Act, the Antiquities Act, among others. More information on these authorities can be found here:

Magnuson Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act

National Marine Sanctuaries Act

National Wildlife Refuge System Administration Act

Antiquities Act

Other Ocean and Coastal Activities

3. How will the public be consulted about these areas?

As part of this assessment, the Administration will be discussing the areas of interest with the public, various interested parties and user groups as well as elected officials. The Council and agencies involved in the assessment are planning to conduct several public open houses to further facilitate public input and discussion. At any time, the public can provide input on this issue to the Chairman of the Council on Environmental Quality by writing him at 722 Jackson Place, N.W., Washington D.C. 20503 or via email at

4. What type of scientific and historical information is being included in the assessment?

The Council on Environmental Quality and various agencies are collecting scientific and historical information based on the research conducted by the Departments of the Interior, Commerce, and Defense. Specifically, we are collecting information about the physical setting, geological resources, cultural and historic resources, oceanographic conditions, and biological characteristics. Information about some of the research and monitoring conducted in these areas can be viewed on the following websites: Remote Pacific Islands and Atolls

Northern Mariana Islands and Mariana Trench

5. What is the schedule for the assessment? What happens after the assessment is completed?

Working collaboratively with the local and regional partners, as well as the public, CEQ and the appropriate federal agencies will conduct an assessment during the months of September and October. During this time we will be discussing the potential for further recognition, protection, or need for more coordinated management of these areas. Once the assessment is completed and recommendations are made to the President, he will decide whether to take further action.

6. How does this assessment relate to the President's Ocean Action Plan?

In 2004, the President released his Ocean Action Plan (OAP) to promote an ethic of responsible use and preservation of our oceans and coastal resources. This latest action by the President falls in line with his continued commitment to preserving our oceans for future generations. The Presidentís Ocean Action Plan calls for strengthening and better coordinating US ocean policy by:

  • Enhancing Ocean Leadership and Coordination

  • Advancing our Understanding of Oceans, Coasts, and Great Lakes

  • Enhancing the Use and Conservation of our Ocean, Coastal and Great Lakes Resources

  • Managing Coasts and Their Watersheds

  • Supporting Maritime Transportation

  • Advancing International Ocean Science and Policy

The Ocean Action Plan identifies 88 activities to further ocean conservation including commitments to promote coral conservation and education, enhance conservation of marine mammals, sharks and sea turtles, improve marine managed areas and preserve the nationís maritime heritage. This assessment is part of advancing this agenda by analyzing further opportunities to meet these objectives.

Make sure you check out the map of the Marianas, too.

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