July 19, 2004 Press Statement
Admiral James Watkins, USN (Ret.)
Chairman, U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy
on New Congressional Ocean Legislation
The U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy would like to recognize U.S. Senator Ernest Fritz Hollings who, with support from Senators Ted Stevens, Daniel Inouye and Judd Gregg, introduced new ocean legislation in Congress last week, the National Ocean Policy and Leadership Act and the Ocean Research Coordination and Advancement Act.
Senator Hollings tireless work on behalf of this nations ocean and coasts will help preserve and protect our precious marine and coastal resources for generations to come. The milestones of his 38-year-career in the Senate, while too numerous to count, will always include his work to establish the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) over 30 years ago, as well as his instrumental role in the establishment of this Commission under the Oceans Act of 2000.
By calling for a transition toward ecosystem-based management through improved integration of federal ocean programs, strengthened partnerships and enhanced coordination, more marine research and a greater focus on ocean education, the Senators latest landmark bills highlight some of the most important recommendations in the Commissions Preliminary Report. The bills also address a universal concern identified by the nations Governors, ensuring greater state and stakeholder involvement in the development and implementation of national ocean policy.
The bills also underscore the importance of a strengthened NOAA. They are focused on the need for NOAA to manage its activities more effectively around a set of clear missions and functions. As stated in our Preliminary Report, one of the Commissions top priorities for this session of Congress is the passage of an organic act that solidifies NOAAs role as the nations lead ocean agency. In this regard, the Commission would also like to recognize Congressman Vernon J. Ehlers for his introduction of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Act, a bill also designed to strengthen NOAA and increase resources for and the coordination of marine research, observations and education.
Kate Naughten, (202) 418-3442