Source:  National Ocean Council Blog and Alaska Center for Climate Assessment & Policy

    On April 19, 2011, the National Ocean Council hosted a webinar on the National Ocean Policy and what it means for the Arctic region. Almost 300 listeners joined the discussion on the Obama Administration’s work underway to implement the National Ocean Policy, including initial thoughts of the interagency team that is now preparing a strategic action plan (SAP) to address changing conditions in the Arctic.

  • Salazar Announces Approval of Cape Wind Energy Project Construction and Operations Plan

    Source: U.S. Department of the Interior

    WASHINGTON, DC – Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar today announced that the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement (BOEMRE) has approved a Construction and Operations Plan (COP) submitted for the Cape Wind Energy Project, which is required before construction may begin on the generation facility planned in Nantucket Sound. The timeframe reported in the COP submitted by Cape Wind Associates suggests that construction of the nation’s first offshore wind farm could begin as early as the fall.

  • New Website on Hawaii Coastal Use Mapping

    The results of the Hawaii Coastal Use Mapping Project are now available. The project, a collaboration among NOAA’s National Marine Protected Areas Center, Pacific Island Regional Office, Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center, and Special Projects Office, as well as the Hawaii Division of Aquatic Resources, mapped 16 different uses representing the majority of human ocean activities off the northwestern coast of the Island of Hawaii. Data were collected during a three-day participatory mapping workshop held in September 2010.

    More information about the Hawaii Coastal Use Mapping Project is available here

    The Hawaii Coastal Use Map is available here

  • CRE Transmits its Recommendations on Coastal and Marine Spatial Planning

    The Center for Regulatory Effectiveness is pleased to submit the enclosed report to the National Ocean Council on Coastal and Marine Spatial Planning (CMSP). The Department of Interior (DOI) has recently implemented the Smart from the Start Initiative, which CRE believes will undermine the efforts of the National Ocean Council‟s development of CMSP. CRE has prepared a white paper outlining how the Smart from the Start Initiative will set back CMSP.
    The Smart from the Start Initiative intends to streamline the leasing process for offshore wind energy by establishing Wind Energy Areas (WEAs), which are ocean locations that DOI has designated as particularly well suited for the development of offshore wind projects. Specifically, the WEAs established by DOI under the Smart from the Start Initiative undermine CMSP for the following two reasons:
     Certain stakeholders are cut out of the process, especially fishermen and shipping. This is well reflected in recent a bipartisan letter signed by Senators and Congressmen, urging DOI to provide these stakeholders with a greater opportunity for input.
     The creation of WEAs involves ocean zoning for particular uses with limited public participation. The WEAs are zoning ocean areas without taking a comprehensive approach to the current and anticipated future uses of the oceans.
    The CMSP is designed to use a comprehensive approach in allocating the best way to utilize the United States‟ ocean resources. The scale of the CMSP is great, but so will its long-term benefits. However, zoning WEAs under the Smart from the Start Initiative in the Atlantic ahead of the comprehensive spatial planning in the CMSP, undermines the purpose and effectiveness of
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    the CMSP. Establishing WEAs before CMSP is implemented is not comprehensive ocean
    planning and is not the “smart” solution for stewardship over the United States‟ oceans.
    In the attached report CRE concludes:
    The Smart from the Start Initiative is in direct conflict with President Obama‟s
    National Ocean Policy that calls for CMSP. CMSP requires a comprehensive,
    transparent plan that considers current and anticipated uses of the United State‟s
    Oceans. The WEAs do not adequately integrate the current uses of the ocean
    areas, such as for fishing and shipping.

    CRE has been monitoring developments with Coastal and Marine Spatial Planning (CMSP). CRE recently submitted the report below to the National Ocean Council (NOC) on CMSP. The Department of Interior (DOI) has implemented the Smart from the Start Initiative, which CRE believes will undermine the efforts of the National Ocean Council‟s development of CMSP.  CRE prepared a white paper outlining how the Smart from the Start Initiative will set back CMSP.

  • European Union Requests Public Input on Maritime Spatial Planning

    The European Union (EU) is gathering stakeholder feedback about the status and future of maritime spatial planning (MSP) and integrated coastal zone management (ICZM) and assessing where further EU action would be most useful. The information gathered will be incorporated into an impact assessment and may be used to prepare draft proposals on MSP or ICZM. Anyone with an interest in these issues, including government officials, nongovernmental organizations, researchers, and coastal or maritime companies, is invited to complete an anonymous online questionnaire before the May 20, 2011, deadline. The questionnaire can be accessed at http://ec.europa.eu/yourvoice/ipm/forms/dispatch?form=MAREENV&lang=en.

  • Fishermen wary as feds seek offshore wind interest

    From: The Boston Globe

    By Jay Lindsay Associated Press / April 3, 2011

    BOSTON—The future of the wind industry off Massachusetts may take shape inside a crookedly-drawn area of ocean about 14 miles south of Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket.

    The 2,900 square mile polygon has strong winds and is close to densely populated coastal areas with high power demands. It also contains rich scallop grounds and important flounder spawning areas.

    The federal government is now asking offshore wind developers if they’re interested in building wind farms in this designated zone, and some fishermen are working to ensure they aren’t pushed out of it.

  • Ocean zoning a hot topic for Begich

    By Laine Welch
    For the Alaska Journal of Commerce


    Alaska U.S. Sen. Mark Begich is quick to name the issue giving him the biggest earful so far in his new post as Chairman of the Commerce Subcommittee on Oceans, Fisheries and Coast Guard: “marine spatial planning.”

    The concept is listed as a top priority by the 2010 National Ocean Council, which is already preparing to draft action plans on nine coastal/ocean objectives. It would affect all users and uses, on and beneath the oceans.