A quote from last week's congressional sub-committee hearing on the role of oceans in the U.S economy:
The Blue Economy – jobs and economic opportunities that emerge from our oceans, Great Lakes, and coastal resources – generates more than 50 percent of our nation’s Gross Domestic Product and provides over 70 million jobs to Americans. Simply put, the economic health of America is undeniably linked to the riches of our oceans and coasts.
- Great Pacific Garbage Patch
- Shark fin hunting
- Collapsing coral reefs
- Gulf of Mexico dead zone
- Jellyfish invasions
In response Obama called for an emergency task force to come up with plan to protect the oceans this summer, including a single regulatory framework to handle the skyrocketing demand for offshore construction permits, most notably in the energy sector.
Right now, there are 140 laws and 20 agencies many with overlapping jurisdictions and conflicting initiatives. The Ocean Protection Plan will consolidate them, an important first step in what some have called "Obama's greatest challenge" -- the protection of our waters.