Panel: Create Federal Ocean Agency

Cover of Commission's Preliminary Report. Credit: U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy

The Commission's Preliminary Report urges revamping U.S. management of its coastlines and ocean waters. U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy hide caption

itoggle caption U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy

The U.S. exclusive economic zone, extending 200 nautical miles offshore, encompasses more than 13,000 miles of coastline and 3.4 million square nautical miles of ocean. U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy hide caption

Full image of U.S. waters, with more details
itoggle caption U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy

The U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy recommends the creation of a national council to oversee coastal concerns ranging from fisheries management to onshore sources of pollution.

The commission, a bipartisan panel appointed by Congress, cited the need to manage and protect natural resources in the ocean waters that surround U.S. properties, from Guam to Alaska and the U.S. Virgin Islands. It proposes using some of the $5 billion the United States receives annually for offshore oil and gas drilling to establish conservation and historic-preservation programs.

The recent study is the most extensive to be undertaken since 1969; the results of that review helped create NOAA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The panel's findings call for the new cabinet-level body to be part of the executive branch. NPR's Christopher Joyce reports.

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