By Cameron Chai
The 2012 U.S. Ocean Policy Report Card has been released by the Joint Ocean Commission Initiative to assess the country’s progression in implementing the National Ocean Policy, which is essential to the national security, ocean resources and coastal economies.
Although the report card praises the firm steps initiated by the Administration to start implementation, it emphasizes that overall measures taken are not up to the mark and Congress has not provided any guidance on this issue. At a press conference held during Capitol Hill Oceans Week, the Joint Initiative explained the necessity for national leadership for effective ocean resource management and the requirement of taking action on the Law of the Sea Convention by the Senate.
Although the Joint Initiative admits that important steps taken in the creation of the new policy and significant initial steps in implementation, it issued a C grade for national leadership and support on the management of ocean resources, a D for not providing federal funding for the complete implementation of this key national policy, and an F for the Senate’s failure in guiding the President to take part in the Law of the Sea Convention. The report card also recommends 15 advices to the states, Congress, and Administration to find ways to better these grades in the future.
The Joint Initiative issued an A-grade to the states and regions, including Pacific Northwest, Mid-Atlantic, Gulf of Mexico and Northeast, for their efforts in the improvement of ocean management. It advised Senate leaders to force the US to take part in the Law of the Sea Convention. Well-known national security and military experts, business leaders such as the American Petroleum Institute and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and environmental advocates and researchers show support to this international agreement.