Fact Sheet: President Clinton and Vice President Gore: Forging a 21st Century Strategy for Our Oceans (8/7/00)
                              August 7, 2000

Today, in an event on Martha's Vineyard in Massachusetts, President Clinton
will sign bipartisan legislation establishing a new high-level commission
to recommend policies to promote the protection and sustainable use of
America's oceans and coastal resources.  The Oceans
Act of 2000 builds on the Administration's strong efforts to protect our
nation's beaches and coasts, restore fisheries and marine mammals,
strengthen coastal economies, and expand undersea exploration.  The
President also will call on Congress to fully fund his Lands Legacy
budget for fiscal year 2001, which proposes record funding to protect our
oceans and coasts.

Building a New Consensus for Ocean Protection.  Two years ago, President
Clinton and Vice President Gore presided over the National Ocean Conference
in Monterey, California, which brought together for the first time the full
array of ocean interests -- from scientists and
conservationists to representatives of government and industry.  At the
Conference, the President announced new steps to protect coral reefs and
rebuild fisheries, and extended through 2012 the moratorium on offshore oil
and gas leasing off most of America's coast.  This year, on Memorial
Day weekend, the President signed an Executive Order to strengthen and
expand the nation's network of marine protected areas -- the ocean
equivalent of our national parks -- and directed the Commerce and Interior
departments to develop a plan to permanently protect the rich
coral reefs of the Northwest Hawaiian Islands.  And in June, the President
announced the launch of three undersea expeditions and directed the
Commerce Secretary to develop a plan for a new era of ocean exploration.

New Strategies to Meet a New Set of Challenges.  At the Monterey
Conference, the President committed to work with Congress to establish a
new commission to help chart a 21st century strategy to restore and protect
America's ocean resources.  More than 30 years have passed since the
Stratton Commission, the first such panel, issued recommendations that laid
the foundation for federal oceans policy -- including the establishment of
national marine sanctuaries, management of marine fisheries, and creation
of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.  But pressures on
our oceans and coasts continue to mount.  Nearly half of all new
development in the United States occurs along the coast.  Rising demand for
seafood is driving some species toward extinction.  And polluted runoff
causes toxic algae blooms, forces beach closures, and threatens marine life
and human health.

The Oceans Act of 2000, whose chief sponsor was Senator Fritz Hollings of
South Carolina, aims to meet these and other new challenges by developing
broad-based recommendations to strengthen and coordinate federal ocean
policy.  To take effect January 20, 2001, the Act:

* Establishes a Commission on Ocean Policy with 16 members, including
representatives of state and local government, academia, ocean-related
industries, and the conservation and scientific communities.  Members will
be appointed by the President, with 12 members drawn from nominees
submitted by Congress.

                                 - more -

* Directs the Commission to examine federal ocean policy, and environmental
and economic trends affecting oceans and coasts, and within 18 months of
its appointment submit recommendations to Congress and the President.

* Directs the Commission to recommend ways to promote responsible
stewardship of fisheries and other marine resources; protection of the
marine environment; enhancement of marine-related commerce and
transportation; expansion of human knowledge of the marine environment;
cooperation among federal, state and local governments, and with the
private sector; protection of life and property; and preservation of
America's international leadership on ocean issues.

* Directs the Commission to hold public hearings (including at least one in
the Northeast, the Southeast, the Southwest, the Northwest, the Gulf of
Mexico, and Alaska), release a draft report for public review, and consult
with the Governors of coastal states.

* Calls on the President, within 120 days of receiving the Commission's
report, to submit proposals to Congress for the responsible use and
stewardship of ocean and coastal resources; and, beginning in September,
2001, to report biennially to Congress on federal ocean
programs and projected funding over the coming five years.

* Investing in Our Oceans and Coasts: President Clinton has secured
significant new funding to rebuild marine fisheries and a four-fold
increase in funding to manage and protect our national marine sanctuaries.
Through his Lands Legacy initiative, he is proposing a record $429 million
in fiscal year 2001, a 159 percent increase, for ocean and coastal
protection.  This includes $100 million for a new program to help coastal
states address the environmental impacts of
existing offshore oil and gas development; $159 million to states for other
programs to protect, restore, and revitalize coastal areas; $100 million to
help states and tribes restore Pacific Northwest salmon; $35 million to
protect and expand marine sanctuaries; and $15 million to
protect and rebuild coral reefs.  However, budget bills approved by the
House and Senate fall far short of the President's request.  The President
calls on Congress to fully fund these programs and his entire Lands Legacy


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