Ocean task force listens to West coast needs

September 17, 2009 10:43:29 PM PDT
The system used to regulate how people use the ocean is about the get an overhaul. The Obama Administration is putting together a national policy for the very first time. On Thursday the task force in charge of coming up with that policy was in San Francisco, hearing what people have to say here on the West Coast.

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Environmentalists outside the San Francisco Hyatt were preaching to the choir the Obama Administration's Interagency Ocean Policy Task Force was created to protect the nation's oceans, coasts and great lakes.

"We can have a much more effective, efficient, durable set of policies and practices that make it clear its fine to use oceans, you just can't use them up," says Dr. Jane Lubchenco from NOAA.

The task force came to San Francisco to gather input for shaping national policy on ocean use.

"Economic, ecological, commercial, fishing, recreational, and certainly security uses and interests sometimes are not all in agreement as to how to move forward or how to use those spaces," says U.S. Coast Guard Rear Admiral Sally Brice-O'Hara.

"We really need an ocean czar," says San Francisco and Mendocino resident Susan Nutter

Nutter came to speak before the task force. She's worried about naval weapons testing off the coast and disposal of those weapons at sea.

"Including lots and lots of toxic chemicals including white phosphorous, which the fish eat and we eat," says Nutter.

The task force will issue recommendations for fixing the struggling ecosystem in the Bay Area's delta. On off-shore oil drilling and how to proceed with plans for wind and wave power projects.

"Use sound science, coordinated management and let's get ahead of the problems that are affecting the ocean," says Ann Notthoff with the NRDC.

For now there is a spirit of cooperation among the various interest groups an interim report was released to the public on Thursday, the final recommendations are due in December.

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