the WHITE HOUSEPresident Barack Obama

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Ocean Council Moving Full Steam Ahead

Summary: 
The National Ocean Council (NOC) works to build a governance structure that will support the Council as it works to ensure the stewardship of our oceans, coasts and Great Lakes.

The last two months have been busy for the National Ocean Council (NOC).  Internally, staff has been building a governance structure that will support the Council as it works to ensure the stewardship of our oceans, coasts and Great Lakes.  At the same time, we have engaged in a variety of stakeholder outreach and planning efforts.  Our goal is to ensure a comprehensive, transparent process as we implement the President’s historic Executive Order.  

As NOC co-chairs, we are excited about the great energy and enthusiasm that was on display at today’s inaugural Deputy Committee meeting, at which members discussed Deputy-level responsibilities and reviewed key action materials that will be vital to moving the NOC forward.  The Deputy Committee is charged with executing the National Policy objectives and includes 25 senior-level officials from Federal agencies, departments, and White House Offices identified in the Task Force’s final recommendations.  The meeting was productive and suffused with a real commitment to achieve the goals laid out in the Executive Order.

Among the key organizational and outreach milestones the NOC has reached so far:

  • NOC staff, representative agencies, and offices have met and continue to meet with many of the stakeholders, experts, and interest groups previously engaged by the Ocean Policy Task Force.  This includes convening 16 roundtable briefings to describe the final recommendations and how they differ from those in the Task Force’s interim documents. 
  • Six of the eight dedicated NOC staff members have now reported aboard from their sponsoring Federal agencies.
  • We sent Governance Coordinating Committee (GCC) nomination request letters to state and tribal officials including Governors, state and local government organizations, federally recognized tribes, and national and regional tribal organizations.  This is the first step toward creating an 18-member GCC that will work with the NOC.
  • An interagency workgroup is designing a National Coastal and Marine Spatial Planning Workshop. 

All Americans are stakeholders in our Nation’s ocean and coastal resources. We look forward to implementing the President’s vision to make the most of these precious resources, and we will continue to use this blog as a tool to keep you apprised of our progress.

Dr. John P. Holdren is Assistant to the President for Science and Technology and Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy

Nancy Sutley is Chair of the Council on Environmental Quality