I. Greenwire: 'Zoning' Has Become A Bad Word For Backers Of Obama Marine Policy
II. EPA Administrator Announces Resignation
III. Salazar Announces Intention To Resign
IV. BOEM Director Selected To Fill Senior Position At Interior
V. Northeast Regional Planning Body To Meet In April
VI. Deadline Nears For ORAP Nominations
VII. EPA Releases Final 2012 National Water Program Strategy
VIII. Initial Draft Of National Climate Assessment Released For Public Comment
IX. NOAA Seeks Comments On Expansion Of Two National Marine Sanctuaries
X. NOAA Announces Adjustment Of West Coast Shipping Lanes
XI. NOAA Solicits Interest For Hydrographic Services Review Panel Membership
XII. Availability Of Seats On Flower Garden Banks Nat’l Marine Sanctuary Advisory Council
XIII. Availability Of Seat On Marine Fisheries Advisory Committee
XIV. Availability Of Seats On National Boating Safety Advisory Council
XV. Sport Fishing and Boating Partnership Council To Hold Public Teleconference
XVI. U.S. Integrated Ocean Observing System Advisory Committee To Hold Open Meeting
XVII. Marine Mammal Commission To Hold Open Sessions In Florida and California
Greenwire: 'Zoning' Has Become A Bad Word For Backers Of Obama Marine Policy
Greenwire yesterday reported on the use of the term "zoning" to describe the coastal and marine spatial planning (CMSP) component of President Obama's National Ocean Policy. Writing that the administration "plans to map coastal waters for various uses -- fishing, energy development, shipping and recreation -- in hopes of avoiding conflicts offshore," Greenwire stated that while some are calling that "the offshore equivalent of zoning," policy backers "hate" and "cringe" at the word.
In addition to reporting on comments by U.S. House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Doc Hastings and the Alaska Oil and Gas Association about how the policy is akin to ocean zoning and stands to add new layers of bureaucracy, the article noted that while "[m]ost federal officials avoid using the word...it still slips out," referencing a 2011 Interior Department document that likened the CMSP initiative to a "national zoning plan." The article also referenced use of the term "zoning" to describe ocean planning in academic papers and in presentations at a 2002 NOAA/EPA-sponsored conference.
Greenwire wrote that "it has long been standard practice in Washington to replace politically charged language with a softer turn of phrase," but added that marine planners say their resistance to the word "zoning" in this context is "more than a matter of political wordplay."
President of Ocean Visions Charles Ehler, who also authored the U.N. Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) guidebook for marine spatial planning, differentiated between marine spatial planning and "zoning," adding that "'zoning' is like a snake that keeps popping up and we have to beat it down again." He further stated that "[w]e want to do comprehensive planning rather than zoning first...[a]nd then we can determine whether we want a zoning map or zoning regulations."
National Ocean Council Director Deerin Babb-Brott, who previously oversaw the Massachusetts ocean planning effort in 2008, also differentiated between "marine planning" and zoning" and said that "[m]arine planning is what it says; it is not a regulatory process and not a new concept." He also stated that marine plans will only be developed in regions that want to participate, that regional planning bodies will not have any regulatory authority, and that any maps and plans will be suggestive rather than exclusive as to permissible activities. On the latter point, Babb-Brott said that the goal is for regions to reach agreements on uses "where they make the most sense, not declaring where they should be, but where they make the most sense."
"[A]s the administration has disavowed any notion of zoning or enforcement with the plans," Greenwire reported that Marine Conservation Institute Chief Scientist Elliot Norse "has lost interest." According to Norse, the administration "nearly broke its legs backpedaling, and now, as far as I can tell, marine spatial planning means nothing more than having a lot of people from a lot of different sectors and bringing people together to look at data." Norse added that "whether or not...the administration is afraid of the hatred of [it] doesn't change [the] fact" that ocean zoning is necessary "[i]f we want to conserve life in the sea and...continue its economic uses that don't preclude one another and interfere and cause endless expense and grief..."
EPA Administrator Announces Resignation
Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson recently announced that she will be resigning her position following President Obama’s 2013 State of the Union address.
In announcing her decision to leave the Administration, Jackson said she was confident that EPA “is sailing in the right direction” and cited “historic progress” in addressing air and water quality, food safety, and efforts to achieve energy independence.
Initial speculation on potential candidates to succeed Jackson included mentions of EPA Deputy Administrator Bob Perciasepe, EPA Assistant Administrator (Office of Air and Radiation) Gina McCarthy, California Air Resources Board Chairwoman Mary Nichols, Former Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection Secretary and Former White House Council on Environmental Quality Chairwoman Kathleen McGinty, and Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection Commissioner Daniel Esty.
Salazar Announces Intention To Resign
U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar last week announced his intention to resign his Cabinet post and return to Colorado by March 31, 2013.
Sec. Salazar stated in part that “[w]e have undertaken the most aggressive oil and gas safety and reform agenda in U.S. history, raising the bar on offshore drilling safety, practices and technology and ensuring that energy development is done in the right way and in the right places.” He added that “drilling activity in the Gulf is surpassing levels seen before the spill, and our nation is on a promising path to energy independence.”
Initial speculation on potential candidates to succeed Salazar included mentions of former Washington Gov. Christine Gregoire (D), Interior Deputy Secretary David Hayes, former U.S. Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-N.D.), former Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer (D), former U.S. Rep. Norm Dicks (D-Wash.), former New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson (D), U.S. Rep. Raúl Grijalva (D-Ariz.), and former Interior Assistant Secretary for Policy, Management and Budget and current U.S. Office of Personnel Management Director John Berry.
BOEM Director Selected To Fill Senior Position At Interior
The U.S. Interior Department announced recently that Bureau of Ocean Energy Management Director Tommy Beaudreau has been selected to serve as Acting Assistant Interior Secretary for Land and Minerals Management. The Assistant Secretary for Land and Minerals Management oversees the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement, Bureau of Land Management, and the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement.
An Interior official confirmed that Beaudreau will retain his position as BOEM Director while also serving in this new capacity.
Northeast Regional Planning Body To Meet In April
Following its inaugural meeting on November 19-20 in Portland, ME, the Northeast Regional Planning Body will hold its next meeting on April 11-12, 2013 in Narragansett, RI. Further details on the meeting, which is open to the public, will be posted here when they are released. Registration is available here.
Under the National Ocean Policy Executive Order, nine Regional Planning Bodies are to be established and are to develop a Coastal and Marine Spatial Plan for their respective regions.
The Northeast Regional Planning Body covers Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont, and is thus far the only Regional Planning Body that has formally been established.
Deadline Nears For ORAP Nominations
Following up on the last NOPC update, the Department of the Navy’s Ocean Research Advisory Panel (ORAP) last month announced that it is soliciting nominations for eight new members. Nominations must be received no later than 5:00 p.m. EST on Thursday, January 31, 2013.
ORAP is a statutorily mandated federal advisory committee that provides senior advice to the National Ocean Leadership Council (NORLC), the governing body of the National Oceanographic Partnership Program (NOPP). Pursuant to the new National Ocean Policy, the National Ocean Council Deputy-level Committee has assumed the responsibilities of the NORLC.
Thus, ORAP now provides advice and guidance to the National Ocean Council, with the National Ocean Council routinely providing guidance and direction on the areas for which it seeks advice and recommendations from ORAP. The National Ocean Council, established pursuant to the July 2010 National Ocean Policy Executive Order, is comprised of 54 federal representatives from 27 different entities and is tasked with overseeing and ensuring federal implementation of the National Ocean Policy.
ORAP also provides advice on the selection of projects and allocation of funds for National Oceanographic Partnership Program.
According to the announcement, the final set of nominees will seek to balance a range of geographic and sector representation and experience. Nominees should have extended expertise and experience in the field of ocean science and/or ocean resource management. ORAP nominations committees under the direction of the National Ocean Council will evaluate nominees and compile a short-list of candidates, which will then be submitted to the Secretaries of the Navy and Defense for consideration. Members of the Panel may serve for up to four years and are appointed as Special Government Employees (members volunteer their time, but travel costs for Panel business are provided).
New members will be selected based on their qualifications to provide senior advice to the National Ocean Council, the availability of the potential panel member to fully participate in the panel meetings, absence of any conflict of interest or appearance of lack of impartiality, and lack of bias, the candidates’ areas of expertise and professional qualifications, and achieving an overall balance of different perspectives, geographic representation, and expertise on the panel.
The ORAP panel holds at least one two-day public meeting per year, but meets as many as three times each year.
EPA Releases Final 2012 National Water Program Strategy
The Environmental Protection Agency recently announced the availability of the final “National Water Program 2012 Strategy: Response to Climate Change” (2012 Strategy).
The 2012 Strategy revises the 2008 National Water Program Climate Strategy, setting forth 5 long-term visions (Infrastructure, Watersheds and Wetlands, Coastal and Ocean Waters, Protecting Water Quality, and Working With Tribes) and 19 associated goals and 53 strategic actions that are intended to manage water resources in light of climate change and serve as a roadmap to inform the National Water Program planning process
In furtherance of addressing the impacts of climate change and responses thereof on the oceans and coasts, the 2012 Strategy calls for the following:
Protecting ocean environments by incorporating emerging threats into EPA programs, including by developing and implementing National Ocean Council strategies and actions, participating in Regional Ocean Partnerships and Regional Planning Bodies, using available authorities and working with regional groups to ensure that offshore renewable projects do not harm the marine environment, and supporting evaluation of sub-seabed sequestration of CO2 and proposals for ocean fertilization;
Collaboration among federal, state, and local agencies, organizations, and institutions in order to collect, produce, and make available information and methodologies relevant to integrating climate change considerations into ocean and coastal management, including information related to sea-level rise projections and ocean acidification and warming;
Supporting and building networks of local, tribal, state, regional, and federal collaborators to take adaptation measures in ocean and coastal environments, including through the National Water Program’s geographic programs, the National Estuary Program, and the Climate Ready Estuaries Program; and
Addressing climate-driven environmental changes in coastal areas and ensuring environmentally-responsible adaptation and mitigation measures by supporting coastal wastewater, stormwater, and drinking water infrastructure owners/operators, supporting climate readiness and preparation and response planning in coastal communities
The 2012 Strategy notes that the National Water Program intends to “collaborate” with Regional Planning Bodies in order to “inform” the implementation of coastal and marine spatial planning and the Climate Change and Ocean Acidification Strategic Action Plan. The document states that CMS plans will “guide and inform Agency decision-making under existing statutory authority.”
Referencing EPA’s Memorandum of Agreement with NOAA to work together to address climate adaptation, resilience, and smart growth, the 2012 Strategy states that similar agreements with the following federal agencies among others would be helpful: Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Fish and Wildlife Service, National Park Service, U.S. Geological Survey, Army Corps of Engineers, Department of Transportation, Federal Emergency Management Agency, and Department of Agriculture.
Initial Draft Of National Climate Assessment Released For Public Comment
The National Climate Assessment and Development Advisory Committee (NCADAC) has released for public comment the first draft of a new National Climate Assessment (NCA). The most recent NCA was completed in 2009.
The NCA is intended in part to serve as a status report on climate change science and impacts, and “aims to incorporate advances in the understanding of climate science into larger social, ecological, and policy systems, and with this provide integrated analyses of impacts and vulnerability.”
The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy said that the final document “will represent the most thorough, rigorous, and transparent assessment ever of climate change and its U.S. impacts.” It adds that the NCA “is expected to be used widely by public and private stakeholders who need information about climate change in order to thrive.”
Formed in December 2010, NCADAC’s mission is to gather and summarize the science and information regarding existing and future impacts of climate change on the U.S., and its specific objective is to produce a National Climate Assessment scheduled to be completed in 2013.
Following review by the public and the National Academies of Sciences, NCADAC will revise the report, and after further review, submit a final version to the federal government for consideration in the Third National Climate Assessment Report.
Comments are due by Friday, April 12, 2013.
NOAA Seeks Comments On Expansion Of Two National Marine Sanctuaries
NOAA’s Office of National Marine Sanctuaries (ONMS) recently announced that it (1) is seeking comments on whether to significantly expand the boundaries of the Cordell Bank (CBNMS) and Gulf of the Farallones (GFNMS) national marine sanctuaries; and (2) intends to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) . NOAA says that it expects to complete the review and potential expansion within 18 to 24 months.
The GFNMS is comprised of 1,279 square miles and is located off the northern and central California coast just north and west of San Francisco Bay. The CBNMS is comprised of 529 square miles and is located 42 miles north of San Francisco.
The expansion under consideration would add up to an additional 2,771 square statute miles by extending the sanctuary boundaries to an area north of the existing sanctuaries that extends from Bodega Bay in Sonoma County, to Alder Creek in Mendocino County, and west to the edge of the continental shelf.
NOAA says the expansion would protect upwelling source waters of the two sanctuaries, nationally-significant seascapes, wildlife, and shipwrecks, and would promote ecotourism and sustainable fishing practices. In a press release, ONMS Director Daniel Basta added that “[t]he waters off the northern California coast are incredibly nutrient-rich and drive the entire natural system and, for almost a decade, local communities have been petitioning their elected officials to expand sanctuary protection to these areas.”
NOAA seeks comments on whether to expand the existing sanctuary boundaries, potential impacts of an expansion, and the scope of issues and alternatives to be considered in the development of an EIS.
NOAA will hold 3 scoping meetings in California on Thursday, January 24 (Bodega Bay), Tuesday, February 12 (Gualala), and Wednesday, February 13 (Point Arena).
Comments are due by Friday, March 1, 2013.
NOAA Announces Adjustment Of West Coast Shipping Lanes
NOAA’s Office of National Marine Sanctuaries (ONMS) recently announced that “busy” shipping lanes offshore California will be adjusted in order to protect endangered whales from vessel collisions, with shipping lane changes expected to take effect in 2013 following an expected Coast Guard rulemaking.
The announcement follows the International Maritime Organization’s December 2012 adoption of three U.S. proposals to address navigational safety and ship strikes en route to San Francisco Bay, the Santa Barbara Channel, and the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. ONMS notes that vessels in these areas traverse through the Cordell Bank, Gulf of the Farallones, and Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuaries where blue, humpback, and fin whales are present.
The adjustments include the extension of three lanes in the approach to San Francisco Bay that will keep vessels on a dedicated route through prime fishing grounds, as well as the narrowing of the overall width of existing lanes in the Santa Barbara Channel and Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary and shifting of the southbound lane one nautical mile north.
NOAA Solicits Interest For Hydrographic Services Review Panel Membership
NOAA recently announced that it is seeking to update the current pool of candidate applications for consideration of appointment to fill future potential vacancies on the 15-member Hydrographic Services Review Panel.
This Panel is a Federal advisory committee that advises the NOAA Administrator on oceanographic and marine technologies relating to operations, research and development, and data dissemination pertaining to hydrographic surveying, shoreline surveying, nautical charting, water level, current, geodetic, geospatial, and geomagnetic measurements, and other oceanographic/marine-related sciences.
While NOAA in the past has sought individuals with backgrounds and experience in areas such as hydrographic data and services, marine transportation, port administration, vessel pilotage, and coastal and fishery management, the solicitation states that the NOAA administrator is attempting to expand the areas of expertise to include those with experience in navigation data, products and services, coastal management, fisheries management, coastal and marine spatial planning, geodesy, water levels, and other science-related fields.
Panel members serve four-year terms and the Panel meets at least twice annually. Panel members become Special Government Employees, and selectees must receive security clearance and file a Confidential Financial Disclosure Report prior to appointment.
Applications are due by Thursday, January 31, 2013.
Availability Of Seats On Flower Garden Banks Nat’l Marine Sanctuary Advisory Council
NOAA’s Office of National Marine Sanctuaries announced last week that it is seeking applications for the following four vacancies on the 21-member Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary Advisory Council (Sanctuary): recreational fishing, research, education, and conservation.
Established in January 1992, the Sanctuary is located in the northwestern Gulf of Mexico and is comprised of three separate areas: East Flower Garden, West Flower Garden, and Stetson Banks.
Applicants will be chosen based on their particular expertise and experience in relation to the seat for which they are applying; community and professional affiliations; and philosophy regarding the protection and management of marine and cultural resources, and possibly the length of residence in the area affected by the Sanctuary. Those chosen as members should expect to serve 3-year terms.
Applications are due by Monday, February 18, 2013 and information on how to apply is available here.
Availability Of Seat On Marine Fisheries Advisory Committee
NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) recently announced that it is seeking applications to fill one vacancy on the Marine Fisheries Advisory Committee (MAFAC).
According to the announcement, although nominations from all interested and qualified individuals will be accepted, NMFS encourages candidates from the Hawaii region to apply for the seat in order to help restore MAFAC’s geographic balance. Nominees should possess “demonstrable expertise” in a field related to the management of living marine resources.
Established in 1970, MAFAC is the only federal advisory committee charged with providing advice to the Secretary of Commerce on all matters concerning living marine resources that are the responsibility of the Commerce Department.
The individual selected will serve a 3-year term and should be able to attend MAFAC’s two annual meetings.
Nominations must be submitted by Monday, February 11, 2013.
Availability Of Seats On National Boating Safety Advisory Council
The U.S. Coast Guard recently announced that it is seeking applications to fill the following 7 vacancies on the 21-member National Boating Safety Advisory Council: Recreational boat and associated equipment manufacturer representatives (3); National recreational boating organization representatives (2); and State officials responsible for State boating safety programs (2).
Applicants will be considered for membership on the basis of their particular expertise, knowledge, and experience in recreational boating safety, and applications are due by Monday, March 11, 2013.
Sport Fishing and Boating Partnership Council To Hold Public Teleconference
The U.S. Department of the Interior’s Fish and Wildlife Service has announced that the Sport Fishing and Boating Partnership Council (Council) will hold a 1-hour public teleconference on Monday, February 11, 2013.
The 18-member Council was created in 1993 in to advise the Interior Secretary on nationally significant recreational fishing, boating, and aquatic resource conservation issues.
In addition to considering and approving recommendations to the Director of Fish and Wildlife Service for funding FY 2013 Boating Infrastructure project proposals, the Council will conduct other miscellaneous business.
To listen to the teleconference, submit written information or questions to the Council before the meeting or give an oral presentation during the teleconference, the following individual must be contacted no later than Thursday, January 31, 2013: Douglas Hobbs, Council Coordinator, 4401 North Fairfax Drive, Mailstop 3103–AEA, Arlington, VA 22203; telephone (703) 358–2336; fax (703) 358–2548; or email email@example.com.
The final agenda will be posted here.
U.S. Integrated Ocean Observing System Advisory Committee To Hold Open Meeting
NOAA’s National Ocean Service recently announced that the U.S. Integrated Ocean Observing System Advisory Committee (Committee) will hold an open meeting in Aurora, Colorado on Wednesday, February 6, 2013. The meeting will include a 15-minute public comment period.
The meeting is expected to focus on finalizing a vision statement for the U.S. Integrated Ocean Observing System (U.S. IOOS) and framing a vision for the U.S. IOOS business model.
The Committee is tasked with advising the NOAA Administrator and the Interagency Ocean Observation Committee on issues including the administration, operation, management, and maintenance of the U.S. IOOS, expansion and periodic modernization and upgrade of technology components of the U.S. IOOS, and the identification of end-user communities, their U.S. IOOS-related information needs, and the effectiveness of the U.S. IOOS in disseminating information.
Marine Mammal Commission To Hold Open Sessions In Florida and California
The Marine Mammal Commission (Commission) announced recently that it will meet in open sessions in St. Petersburg, Florida on Friday, January 25 and in La Jolla, California on Tuesday, January 29.
The meetings are part of the Commission’s plans to meet with regional management and scientific officials in all six National Marine Fisheries Service regions to identify “the most pressing” marine mammal research and management needs. The Commission has already held similar meetings in the Northeast and Alaska regions. Output from the meetings, and public comments received at the sessions and in writing, will be used to develop national priorities to guide federal conservation efforts for marine mammals.
According to the announcement, public participation will be allowed “as time permits and as determined to be desirable by the Chairman.” Those interested in attending either meeting are asked to RSVP by email to firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at (301) 504-0087.
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