In response to the final report of the U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy, President George Bush issued the following statement on September 20:
"I commend the members of the U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy for their hard work and welcome their Final Report.
"Our oceans sustain an abundance of natural wonders, enable the transportation of vital goods, and provide food and recreation for millions of Americans. My Administration is working with every level of government, the private sector, and other non-governmental organizations to advance the next generation of ocean policy. In order to foster more effective management and conservation of our ocean and coastal resources, my Administration has launched and supported numerous innovative science, management, and policy initiatives. We have created a new integrated ocean observing system with international partners, embarked on deep oceans research with a state-of-the-art research ship, and advanced legislation to strengthen the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. We are also building an improved, market-based system to help restore our fisheries and keep our commercial and recreational fishing industries strong. Working with Congress and state governors, my Administration looks forward to building on these initiatives assisted by the work of the Commission."
The Administration is inviting the public to submit comments on the final report until November 1, 2004. Information on the Administration's actions in response to the report can be found at http://ocean.ceq.gov, and information on how to submit comments is provided at http://ocean.ceq.gov/comments/welcome.html.
President Bush has designated James Connaughton, the Chairman of the White House Council on Environmental Quality, as the leader in preparing an Administration response to the Commission's report. To "help formulate the Administration's response," an Interagency Ocean Policy Group has been created under the auspices of the Council on Environmental Quality. According to the web site, the Interagency Ocean Policy Group (IOPG) "is comprised of relevant senior Federal officials, with extensive policy and technical expertise, from...cabinet and independent agencies with programs dedicated to the management and conservation of ocean and coastal resources. The role of the IOPG is to advise their respective cabinet and independent agency heads on proposals to implement or respond to the Commission's recommendations." The departments and agencies involved in the process are: the Department of Agriculture, the Department of Commerce, the Department of Defense, the Department of Education, the Department of Energy, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of the Interior, the Department of Justice, the Marine Mammal Commission, the National Aeronautical and Space Administration, the National Science Foundation, the Department of State, and the Department of Transportation.