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.
But these waters have been hard hit by human impacts:
Industrial waste, overfishing, and climate change are all threatening to undermine the health of both marine ecosystems and the U.S. economy.

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.

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