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Public Meeting, November 22, 2002 Washington, D.C.

Thirteenth Meeting of the U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy
Ronald Reagan International Trade Center Amphitheater
1300 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, D.C.
November 22, 2002

Commissioners in Attendance:

Honorable James D. Watkins, (Admiral, USN (Ret.)) - Chair
Mrs. Lillian Borrone
Dr. James M. Coleman
Ms. Ann D'Amato
Mr. Lawrence Dickerson
Vice Admiral Paul G. Gaffney II, USN
Professor Marc J. Hershman
Mr. Paul L. Kelly
Mr. Christopher Koch
Dr. Frank Muller-Karger
Mr. Edward B. Rasmuson
Dr. Andrew A. Rosenberg
Honorable William D. Ruckelshaus
Dr. Paul A. Sandifer

Meeting Attendees
A list of meeting attendees, including their affiliation where provided, is included in Appendix 1.


The Chair called the thirteenth public meeting of the U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy to order at 8:30 a.m. and introduced the Commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard, Admiral Thomas H. Collins (pdf, 224kb). In his presentation to the Commission, Admiral Collins addressed how the new Department of Homeland Security will balance the non-homeland security missions of the Coast Guard in a department with a security mission. A question/answer period followed. The Commandant was asked about the timeline for an increase in personnel strength and upgrades to infrastructure. He explained that, beginning with the FY2003 Federal budget, the Coast Guard's personnel base of 36,000 will grow by 2,000. He added that the Coast Guard was poised to finish a major acquisition to replace all of its buoy tending capabilities; that almost all of the 82-foot patrol boats have been replaced; and that they have just commenced a $661 million acquisition to replace their VHF-FM high sites. The Commandant also addressed questions concerning Coast Guard efforts to deal with vessel-based oil pollution, nonpoint source pollution and invasive species issues. He pointed out that since the implementation of the Oil Pollution Act (OPA) in 1990, the number of oil spills over 10,000 gallons dropped 50 percent. The Commandant also highlighted the Coast Guard's work with EPA to establish a joint rulemaking on treatment technologies and its ongoing effort to convert voluntary ballast water exchange guidelines into a mandatory program.

The Commission also was interested in whether or not the Coast Guard would be able to continue its fisheries enforcement efforts as they existed before 9/11. The Commandant stated that the Coast Guard’s fisheries enforcement effort was back to within five to seven percent of pre-9/11 levels. The Commandant also addressed questions regarding the ability of his agency to work on a national and regional level; the need for more public education and enforcement of recreational boating related to overboard waste discharge and trash disposal; and existing models for effective coordinating bodies.

Following the question/answer period, the Chair introduced the next phase of the meeting, which was a day-long discussion of draft policy options under consideration by the Commission. At the start of the policy option discussion, the Chair noted that the Commission was about to move from its fact finding phase of work into its deliberation phase. He noted that the deliberative stage would culminate in the production of a report which is due in June 2003.

The session consisted of a series of discussions focused on policy options presented by each working group chairman. The issues were organized and presented within the framework of the Commission’s draft Table of Contents document, which was made available at the meeting. Following the policy option discussions (pdf, 292kb) staff was directed to begin initial drafting of some sections of the Commission’s final report.

Issues discussed by the Commission included:

Chapter I - Our Oceans: A National Asset

  • Guiding Principles

Chapter II - Enhancing Ocean Value and Vitality

  • Living Marine Resources
  • Coastal Management

Chapter IV - Advancing Our Understanding of the Ocean

  • Comprehensive and Coordinated Approach
  • National Coastal and Ocean Observing and Prediction System
  • Data Management

Chapter V - Promoting Ocean Awareness and a Stewardship Ethic

  • K-12 Education
  • Higher Education

Finally, the Chair noted that the Commission would use the transcript from the meeting as the minutes. The official transcript is available in a series of PDF files. The links to those files are below:



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