COMMISSION ON OCEANS REPORT SAYS OCEANS ARE IN TROUBLE-Andrew Stelzer

04/20/04

Senator Kerry’s speech in Tampa gave him a chance to talk about the environment, one of the issues on which Kerry seems to have a vastly different track record than President Bush. Kerry spoke about a new report regarding America’s oceans. ACT “Today the US commission….�

The commissions on Ocean Policy’s’ report recommends setting up a special office at the White House to oversee a new, coordinated policy, doubling investment in scientific research and strengthening the ability of the government to police polluters and fisheries. Mark Ferrulo works with the Florida state Public Interest research Group, he says that the bureaucratic systems which regulate fish populations and oceans are part of the problem. ACT “One of the biggest problems with our ocean policy is that theres a hodge podge of agencies and government and fish are looked at species by species….and the oceans are regulated by the fishing industry.�

One point left out of the report is the moratorium on new offshore drilling operations in the Gulf of Mexico that has existed almost 20 years. Governor Bush has continued that moratorium every year, but that could change at any time. This is just one reason Ferrulo says Floridians should urge their elected representatives to pay attention to the scientific warnings contained in this report. ACT “There are few states as defined by water as Florida…and so there’s a lot at stake.�

Governors and some members of Congress have a 30 days to comment on the report, their comments will get sent to president Bush, who will have 90 days to recommend policy changes based on the report. The end of those 90 days will be August 21st, only 2 months before the Presidential election. Ferrulo says he hopes George Bush uses that opportunity, at a time when he may be on the defensive about his environmental record, to do something good. ACT “It is the case that they are the most anti environmental administration in the history of the county but the have the opportunity to change course.�

The last time an extensive report was released was in 1969; resulting controversy led to landmark laws and a new agency, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. To view the entire report go to http://oceancommission.gov/

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