SPEAKERS CONTENTS INSERTS
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THE OCEANS ACT
SUBCOMMITTEE ON FISHERIES CONSERVATION, WILDLIFE AND OCEANS
COMMITTEE ON RESOURCES
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
ONE HUNDRED FIFTH CONGRESS
Page 2 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCTHE OCEANS ACT OF 1997
TO DEVELOP NATIONAL POLICY WITH RESPECT TO OCEAN AND COASTAL ACTIVITIES
THE OCEAN COMMISSION ACT
MARCH 19, 1998, WASHINGTON, DC
Serial No. 10575
Printed for the use of the Committee on Resources
COMMITTEE ON RESOURCES
DON YOUNG, Alaska, Chairman
W.J. (BILLY) TAUZIN, Louisiana
JAMES V. HANSEN, Utah
JIM SAXTON, New Jersey
ELTON GALLEGLY, California
JOHN J. DUNCAN, Jr., Tennessee
Page 3 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCJOEL HEFLEY, Colorado
JOHN T. DOOLITTLE, California
WAYNE T. GILCHREST, Maryland
KEN CALVERT, California
RICHARD W. POMBO, California
BARBARA CUBIN, Wyoming
HELEN CHENOWETH, Idaho
LINDA SMITH, Washington
GEORGE P. RADANOVICH, California
WALTER B. JONES, Jr., North Carolina
WILLIAM M. (MAC) THORNBERRY, Texas
JOHN SHADEGG, Arizona
JOHN E. ENSIGN, Nevada
ROBERT F. SMITH, Oregon
CHRIS CANNON, Utah
KEVIN BRADY, Texas
JOHN PETERSON, Pennsylvania
RICK HILL, Montana
BOB SCHAFFER, Colorado
JIM GIBBONS, Nevada
MICHAEL D. CRAPO, Idaho
GEORGE MILLER, California
EDWARD J. MARKEY, Massachusetts
NICK J. RAHALL II, West Virginia
Page 4 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCBRUCE F. VENTO, Minnesota
DALE E. KILDEE, Michigan
PETER A. DeFAZIO, Oregon
ENI F.H. FALEOMAVAEGA, American Samoa
NEIL ABERCROMBIE, Hawaii
SOLOMON P. ORTIZ, Texas
OWEN B. PICKETT, Virginia
FRANK PALLONE, Jr., New Jersey
CALVIN M. DOOLEY, California
CARLOS A. ROMERO-BARCELÓ, Puerto Rico
MAURICE D. HINCHEY, New York
ROBERT A. UNDERWOOD, Guam
SAM FARR, California
PATRICK J. KENNEDY, Rhode Island
ADAM SMITH, Washington
WILLIAM D. DELAHUNT, Massachusetts
CHRIS JOHN, Louisiana
DONNA CHRISTIAN-GREEN, Virgin Islands
RON KIND, Wisconsin
LLOYD DOGGETT, Texas
LLOYD A. JONES, Chief of Staff
ELIZABETH MEGGINSON, Chief Counsel
CHRISTINE KENNEDY, Chief Clerk/Administrator
JOHN LAWRENCE, Democratic Staff Director
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Subcommittee on Fisheries Conservation, Wildlife and Oceans
JIM SAXTON, New Jersey, Chairman
W.J. (BILLY) TAUZIN, Louisiana
WAYNE T. GILCHREST, Maryland
WALTER B. JONES, Jr., North Carolina
JOHN PETERSON, Pennsylvania
MICHAEL D. CRAPO, Idaho
NEIL ABERCROMBIE, Hawaii
SOLOMON P. ORTIZ, Texas
FRANK PALLONE, Jr., New Jersey
SAM FARR, California
PATRICK J. KENNEDY, Rhode Island
HARRY BURROUGHS, Staff Director
JOHN RAYFIELD, Legislative Staff
CHRISTOPHER STERNS, Democratic Counsel
C O N T E N T S
Hearing held March 19, 1998
Statement of Members:
Page 6 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCBilbray, Hon. Brian P., a Represenative in Congress from the State of California
Farr, Hon. Sam, a Representative in Congress from the State of California
Pallone, Hon. Frank, Jr., a Representative in Congress from the State of New Jersey
Prepared statement of
Saxton, Hon. Jim, a Representative in Congress from the State of New Jersey
Prepared statement of
Additional material submitted for the record by
Statement of Witnesses:
Baker, D. James, Under Secretary for Oceans and Atmosphere, Department of Commerce
Prepared statement of
Brink, Kenneth, Chairman, Ocean Studies Board, National Academy of Sciences
Prepared statement of
Gutting, Richard, Executive Vice President, National Fisheries Institute, Alexandria, Virginia
Prepared statement of
Kelly, Paul L., Senior Vice President, Rowan Companies, Inc.
Prepared statement of
McManus, Roger, President, Center for Marine Conservation, Washington, DC
Prepared statement of
Merrell, William J., Senior Fellow and President, H. John Heinz III Center for Science, Economics and the Environment
Prepared statement of
Additional material supplied:
Memorandum from Committee on Resources to Members of the Subcommittee
Page 7 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCThe American Association of Port Authorities
Text of S. 1213
Text of H.R. 2547
Text of H.R. 3445
HEARING ON S. 1213, THE OCEANS ACT OF 1997; H.R. 2547, TO DEVELOP NATIONAL POLICY WITH RESPECT TO OCEAN AND COASTAL ACTIVITIES; AND H.R. 3445, THE OCEAN COMMISSION ACT
THURSDAY, MARCH 19, 1998
House of Representatives, Subcommittee on Fisheries Conservation, Wildlife and Oceans, Committee on Resources, Washington, DC.
The Subcommittee met, pursuant to notice, at 10:10 a.m., in room 1334, Longworth House Office Building, Hon. Jim Saxton (chairman of the Subcommittee) presiding.
STATEMENT OF HON. JIM SAXTON, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF NEW JERSEY
Mr. SAXTON. The Subcommittee on Fisheries Conservation, Wildlife and Oceans will come to order.
Today, the Subcommittee will hear testimony on three bills that build upon the foundation established more than 30 years ago with the enactment of the Marine Resources Engineering and Development Act. By the year 2010, it has been estimated that 127 million, or 60 percent of all Americans, will live along our coasts. As someone who is proud to represent a coastal district, I have dedicated myself to the health and vitality of our oceans' ecosystems.
The three bills we are considering today S. 1213, which was introduced by Senator Hollings and passed by the Senate, H.R. 2547, introduced by Congressman Farr and H.R. 3445, which I have introduced, would all establish a new ocean policy commission and renew the directive to the President to establish a national ocean policy. S. 1213 would also establish a new ocean council comprised of representatives from those Federal agencies charged with responsibility over the oceans programs.
Page 8 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC [The text of the bills may be found at end of hearing.]
Mr. SAXTON. During the past three years, this Subcommittee has invested a great deal of effort in trying to improve U.S. nautical charting programs in dealing with the persistent management problems facing our fisheries industries. A formal review of all of these policies by a group of independent, nongovernmental experts would give us a fresh look at the problems and potential solutions on how to improve our oceans programs for the 21st century.
I look forward to hearing from our distinguished witnesses and compliment the gentleman Mr. Farr for authoring H.R. 2547, the Oceans Act of 1997. He has contributed a great deal to the debate on this most important subject.
Finally, I came across a characterization of the ocean that I would like to use today. The quote is this, ''The oceans are like a planet's last great living wilderness, man's only remaining frontier on earth and perhaps his last chance to prove himself a rational species.''
I would now like to recognize the Ranking Member, Mr. Pallone.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Saxton follows:]
STATEMENT OF HON. JIM SAXTON, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF NEW JERSEY
Good morning, Ladies and Gentlemen. Today, the Subcommittee will hear testimony on three bills that build upon the foundation established more than thirty years ago with the enactment of the Marine Resources, Engineering and Development Act.
This historic legislation established the Commission on Marine Science, Engineering and Resources, commonly referred to as the Stratton Commission, which directed the President to establish a National Ocean Policy. As a direct result of the Stratton Commission's report, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration was created and the Coastal Zone Management Program was approved by Congress.
Page 9 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC By the year 2010, it has been estimated that 127 million people or 60 percent of all Americans will live along our coasts. As someone who is proud to represent a coastal district, I have dedicated myself to the health and vitality of our ocean ecosystems.
The three bills we are considering todayS. 1213, which was introduced by Senator Hollings and passed by the Senate; H.R. 2547, introduced by Congressman Parr, and H.R. 3445, which I have introducedwould all establish new ocean policy commissions and and renew the directive to the President to establish a National Ocean Policy. S. 1213 would also establish a new Ocean Council comprised of representatives from those Federal agencies charged with responsibility over ocean programs.
The United Nations has declared 1998 to be the International Year of the Ocean. This year-long event is designed to increase public awareness of the importance of the world's oceans. It also provides a unique opportunity for this Nation to review our ocean and coastal programs to determine which programs are working, which are outdated, or which could be changed to improve their efficiency.
As a maritime nation, we have always been aware of how critical oceans are to our well-being and the environment. For instance, the commercial fishing industry alone contributes $111 billion per year to our national economy. There is always a need to further invigorate our ocean and coastal programs.
During the past three years, this Subcommittee has invested a great deal of effort trying to improve U.S. nautical charting programs and dealing with persistent management problems facing our fishery resources. A formal review of all of these policies by a group of independent non-governmental experts would give us a fresh look at the problems and potential solutions on how to improve our ocean programs for the 21st century.
I look forward to hearing from our distinguished witnesses and I compliment Mr. Farr for authoring H.R. 2547, the Oceans Act of 1997. He has contributed a great deal to the debate on this important subject.
Page 10 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Finally, I came across this characterization of the ocean that I would like to quote today: ''The oceans are like the planet's last great living wilderness, man's only remaining frontier on earth, and perhaps his last chance to prove himself a rational species.''
STATEMENT OF HON. FRANK PALLONE, JR., A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF NEW JERSEY
Mr. PALLONE. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, for holding this hearing today on the legislation to create a national ocean commission. I think this is obviously important. The U.N. has declared 1998 the ''International Year of the Ocean,'' but we don't really need a year of the ocean to recognize the importance of and the complexities of the economic value and also the quality of life derived from healthy and well-managed ocean and coastal resources.
As we talked about at yesterday's hearing on NOAA's budget, more than anything else I think the ''International Year of the Ocean'' should be the opportunity to make sure that the necessary resources are made available to NOAA so that existing coastal and ocean programs can operate to the best of their abilities.
In this ''International Year of the Ocean,'' I do think that it would also serve us well to take a step back and evaluate, look at what we have achieved in terms of ocean and coastal research and resource conservation and management and also look at where we want to be in the next millennium and how we are going to get there.
I think that the legislation before us today sponsored by my colleagues Mr. Farr and also our chairman will help us do just that. These bills are modeled after the creation of the Stafford Commission under the Marine Resources and Engineering Development Act of 1966. In fact, it was as a result of the Stratton Commission's final report that NOAA, in fact, was created in 1970. Yet 30 years after the original Stratton Commission, we still do not have a national ocean policy.
Page 11 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC It is my hope that we can pass legislation this session that will help us move toward the development of a comprehensive ocean policy in the years ahead. Just as the original Stratton Commission helped us move in the right direction, I think that Stratton II as authorized by these bills will help us to reorganize and redirect our efforts with respect to coastal and ocean policies.
I am very pleased that the Senate passed the Oceans Act of 1997 introduced by Senator Hollings, and I think in the House we should follow the Senate's lead and pass similar legislation as soon as possible so that even in this abbreviated session we can get a bill to the President's desk and signed in honor of the ''International Year of the Ocean'' before the year is, in fact, over.
Looking at the bills before us today, the only major difference that I can see is the establishment of a national ocean council in addition to the proposed commission. While the Hollings bill contains such a provision, the Farr and Saxton bills do not. I would hope that today's panel would comment on the merits of establishing such a council. I look forward to having their input.
On a related matter, I also hope to hear from the administration today on the status of the White House National Conference on the Ocean. I know Mr. Farr has been the champion of this issue and requested that the White House hold the conference on the ocean in honor of the ''International Year of the Ocean,'' and I am anxious to know the status of this conference and how it may relate to the legislation before us today.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Pallone follows:]
STATEMENT OF HON. FRANK PALLONE, JR., A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF NEW JERSEY
Mr. Chairman, thank you for holding this hearing today on legislation to create a National Ocean Commission.
Page 12 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. Chairman, this is a very important year for the oceans and ocean policy. The United Nations has declared 1998 the International Year of the Ocean.
Now, I don't think that I or many of my colleagues on this Subcommittee need an International Year of the Ocean to recognize the importance of, the complexities of, the economic value of, or the quality of life derived from healthy and well managed ocean and coastal resources. And as we talked about at yesterday's hearing on NOAA's fiscal year 1999 budget, more than anything else, I think that in thisthe International Year of the Oceanwe should be making sure that the necessary resources are made available to NOAA so that existing coastal and ocean programs can operate to the best of their abilities.
But in this International Year of the Ocean, I do think that it would also serve us well to take a step back and evaluatelook at what we have achieved in terms of ocean and coastal research and resource conservation and management, and also to look at where we want to be in the next millennium, and how we are going to get there.
I think that the legislation before us today will help us to do just that. It is modelled after the creation of the Stratton Commission under the Marine Resources and Engineering Development Act of 1966. In fact, it was as a result of the Stratton Commission's final report that the very agency I just mentioned, NOAA, was created in 1970.
That gives you a sense of just how far we've come in terms of ocean policy since the original Stratton Commission. Back then NOAA didn't even existnor did the Coastal Zone Management Act, the National Sea Grant College Program, NURP, and other successful coastal and ocean programs.
Yet 30 years after the original Stratton Commission, we still do not have a National Ocean Policy. It is my hope that we can pass legislation this session that will help move us towards the development of a comprehensive ocean policy in the years ahead. Just as the original Stratton Commission helped us move in the right direction, I think that Stratton II, as authorized by these bills, will help us to re-organize and redirect our efforts with respect to coastal and ocean policies.
Page 13 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I believe that a national ocean policy is important in order to help us frame the debate on coastal and oceans issues. It will help us establish the current state of marine affairs, where we should be going, and what we need to do to get us there. A few examples of areas which would likely benefit from such a re-examination include: the role of oceans in human health, how to handle our current fishery management problems, and what to do about the increasing pressures being placed on the coastal zone as a result of increasing coastal populations.
I am pleased that earlier this session, the Senate passed the Oceans Act of 1997, introduced by Senator Hollings. I think we in the House should follow the Senate's lead and pass similar legislation as soon as possible so that even in this abbreviated session, we can get a bill to the President's desk and signed in honor of the International Year of the Oceanbefore that year is actually over.
Looking at the bills before us today, the only major difference that I can see is the establishment of a National Ocean Council, in addition to the proposed Commission. While the Hollings bill contains such a provision, the Farr and Saxton bills do not. I hope that today's panel will comment on the merits of establishing such a Council, and I look forward to having their input.
Regardless of this issue, however, I want to make certain that we move forward on this legislation. As I just mentioned, with the limited number of legislative days remaining in the current session, we must act now to get an ocean bill to the President's desk, so that it can be signed by year's end.
On a related matter, I hope to hear from the Administration today on the status of the White House or National Conference on the Ocean. I and many of my colleagues, and I know Mr. Farr has really been the champion of this issue, have requested that the White House hold a Conference on the Ocean in honor of the International Year of the Ocean. I am anxious to know the status of this conference, and how it may relate to the legislation before us today.
Page 14 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC In closing, let me just say that as we move towards the 21st century, I think we should re-affirm our commitment to responsibly managing and protecting our ocean and coastal resources. I think it only appropriate that in this, the International Year of the Ocean, we focus on the big picture and develop a long-range, national ocean and coastal policy. I think that the bills that we are considering today will help us do that. But even more important, in this and every year, we should make certain that we provide the necessary resources to accomplish the goals that we set with resect to ocean and coastal policy.
With that, I would like to welcome the panel today and I look forward to hearing from the Administration and others on this important matter.
Mr. SAXTON. Thank you, Mr. Pallone.
I would like to call on the author of the original Oceans Commission Act that was introduced in the House, Mr. Farr, who has not only been a leader, but has been very instrumental in moving us more quickly than Congress usually moves on issues such as this. We thank him for his energetic, enthusiastic leadership.
STATEMENT OF HON. SAM FARR, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA
Mr. FARR. Thank you very much for that kind statement, but it also goes to a chairman who is very interested in this issue and can make things happen. I appreciate you making things happen.
As stated, today is the day that we are having the hearing on the proposed legislation, both the Senate and the versions in the House. I think Mr. Pallone outlined the difference between the two, the major, and I would like to go into more specifics in a moment. Just a few comments about the opportunity we have before us.
Page 15 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC You know, rarely in politics if you look at the big picture in Washington do you have the ability to focus on a moment when Congress, the legislative branch of government; both Houses, the Senate and the House of Representatives; the administration, the executive branch of government; and essentially the international community, the United Nations, are all on the same page. I cannot think of anything other than the Middle East right now that has got everybody focused, and yet we are focused on the oceans.
This is remarkable politics and it is remarkable timing because the ocean really is our planet. We are known as the ''water planet'' because of our oceans, 71 percent of the earth's coverage. As Mr. Saxton so eloquently said, it really is the ''last frontier.''
Really, what I hope comes out of all of this is not only the legislation to bring knowledge and then to understand where we need to go, it is sort of what comes out of this legislation is a commission's report to the executive branch and to Congress, and then there will be roles to take to implement the recommendations. Some of them will be administrative recommendations, some will be legislative, but there is a bigger role, and that is the education role, that is: to bring the consciousness of the crisis that we have before us to the people of America and likewise to the people of the world, so that we can have a serious tool to use in being able to protect this planet and protect our livelihoods.
The reason I get so interested in the oceans is not only do I live in this great meeting of land and water on the central coast of California, but we have learned that the ocean is so much a part of the way we are in our livelihood. It is the economics is the ocean and it has been the livelihood for the fisheries industry. We have lost one. We have lost the sardine industry. If you read ''Cannery Row,'' by Steinbeck, then you will see what we lost.
We have had an endangered species, the California sea otter, which everybody thought was extinct. It is now back and being back is big economics. Lots of people come to see it. A lot of things are being produced to honor the sea otter and to show it. It is not only the fisheries, but it is the wildlife and it is the threatened ecosystem, because as our earth gets more populated what we will understand is the demographics of world populations.
Page 16 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Certainly, here in the United States and Members of Congress are concerned because population increases means census and census means reapportionment, and reapportionment means reelection or not reelection and it means political districts. If you look at what is happening in America, the populations are going to the coastal communities.
The remarkable thing about this is that, you know, the last time Congress looked at this was back in 1966. I mean, 30 years have gone by since we have really taken a comprehensive look at it. If we do not, the situation is only going to get worse. Two-thirds of the world's cities with populations over 1.6 million are located in the coastal zone. By the year 2010, it is estimated that 75 percent of the United States' population will live 50 miles from the coast.
Mr. Chairman, this Committee on the oceans may be the most important committee in Congress, if most of the people are going to live right around it. With all of the potential environmental consequences and having so many people concentrated in areas of such diverse, and I think what we are recognizing, such fragile ecosystems is a constant meeting of land and water.
The problem is that we are not investing enough in learning about our oceans. For all of the money that we have spent in space exploration, witness know woefully little about the amazing characteristics of 71 percent of the planet's surfaceand that is, our world's oceans. In fact, we know less about the surface of our own planet than we do about that of Mars, Venus and the moon. I believe we need to put our national ocean exploration programs on par with space programs in our efforts to conserve the marine environment at least equal to that provided to the land portion of our country.
With this in mind, the bills before you, this is a bipartisan effort. We are not here to have pride of authorship because I think both Mr. Saxton and I have long enough political careers to realize that there is a bigger picture here, and that is: to develop a piece of legislation that really meets the need.
Page 17 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC What I would just suggest in closing, Mr. Chairman, is that the one thing that I think we need to strengthen in reading both my bill and yours and Senator Hollings' is that we need more language in here to recognize what role states are playing in creating ocean plans.
My own state of California, for example, has done a very comprehensive study of what the ocean environment is and what the needs are out to the 200-mile limit. With that report, they are now in the process of sort of creating a state coastal ocean management plan to resolve conflicts of the ocean. It is a very comprehensive report and a very good one. We ought to recognize where states are like your state of New Jersey and our state are doing things it can be better coordinated.
Secondly, I think we also need to ratchet up the interest in the role of education in all of this. We are not going to get anywhere even with the expo in Lisbon and this ''International Year of the Oceans,'' this legislation and the oceans conference if we do not better disseminate what we are learning from it. I think we have a role to do that in the legislation, and I would like to address that as well.
With that, I look forward to the hearing. I echo the concerns that Mr. Pallone said. I talked with Dr. Baker this morning, and I appreciate the discussion after yesterday's meeting. He has assured us, and maybe he will do it in his own words, that he is going to meet with Members of Congress to coordinate with them and have them participate in the year of the ocean. Thank you.
Mr. SAXTON. Thank you, Mr. Farr.
Before we turn to our witnesses, I would like to emphasize that the Hollings bill, the Farr bill and the Saxton bill are all very similar. In fact, I have here a side-by-side from two sides of this paper. As I look at the various sections of the bill, in most cases there is no difference. We are, in essence, together on the concept, and the nuts and bolts that need to be changed we will certainly be able to work out in an amicable fashion.
Page 18 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Dr. Baker and Dr. Merrell, we have been joined by our friend from Southern California, Mr. Bilbray, and I ask unanimous consent that Mr. Bilbray be invited and permitted to sit with us on the panel today.
Thank you for being here. Did you have an opening statement that you would like to make?
Mr. BILBRAY. Yes, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. SAXTON. Proceed.
STATEMENT OF HON. BRIAN P. BILBRAY, A REPRESENATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA
Mr. BILBRAY. Mr. Chairman, I apologize for my tardiness. My mind-set, I was thinking of the ocean and proceeded west immediately and ended up in the Rayburn Building.
Mr. SAXTON. Only someone from California could do that.
Mr. BILBRAY. Well, at least when you grow up a block from the beach, you pretty well figure it is not far and you do find it if you go west.
Mr. Chairman, I would just like to thank you for the opportunity to participate in the Subcommittee of this important hearing of one of the planet's most precious resources, the ocean, being second only in my opinion to the children of our communities.
We are here today about three similar billsS. 1213, H.R. 2547 and H.R. 3445all of which share a common goal of a long-term conservation of our ocean resources. I am proud to be a co-sponsor of H.R. 3445, which you introduced along with Mr. Gilchrest, and I also wish to commend my fellow colleague from California, Sam Farr, and also the support of Senator Ernest Hollings of South Carolina for the hard work of actually addressing this issue of how we move toward a cleaner ocean in the ''Year of the Ocean.''
Page 19 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC As a lifelong resident of San Diego, I have grown up working and playing in the ocean. I have surfed, swam in the ocean since a boy. I have worked as a diver. I have cleaned naval ships in San Diego Harbor. I have dove for urchins in Abalonia and Pacific Ocean. I have even dove on yachts in the Gulf of Mexico. I have been a lifeguard, and now I spend much of my time involved with my family at the beach, in the ocean and participating in the area.
This is also a unique perspective for me because too often we approach the ocean as being something esoteric and out there. It is not out there. We are here and the ocean is part of our human experience. It is an environmental and economic and, yes, even sometimes a spiritual relationship we have, and it is something that we must consider in our decisionmaking process to guide us in actions working with local communities and their elected officials as Members of Congress.
I consider myself extremely fortunate to be able to benefit from the great relationship with the ocean and believe that now we have a responsibility to ensure that my children and your children and our grandchildren are able to experience the same relationship. I know this is a goal which we share and my colleagues here today on both sides of the aisle are working together to accomplish this goal. I am excited to be working with them on legislation to develop and implement a national ocean policy.
One aspect of the task force before us which particularly interests me is the high potential for contribution from our private sector in enhancing our existing knowledge based upon the ocean. We have made progress in recent years in streamlining some of government's programs which were either redundant or operating completely independent of each other, and we have also begun to see potential applications of declassified military technology to ocean-related research and policy.
However, in establishing a commission on ocean policy, ultimate formation of the national ocean policy, I want to make it a high priority to involve the experience, wisdom and perceptive and wide varying perceptions of ocean experts.
Page 20 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC During my time in Congress, I have relied on input from organizations ranging from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography to Surf Rider Foundation in making my decisions on ocean-related matters, and the range of perceptions has helped me guide my thinking and making sound science-based decisions. I know my colleagues here today rely on similar brain-trusts in making decisions which affect the resources of their own districts, and I want to make sure that the commission and the policy which we ultimately establish reflected the sort of opening approach.
Mr. Chairman, I would just like to close by saying as somebody who not only got to enjoy the good things of the ocean, I grew up in a community that has been over the last 30 years one of the most polluted and impacted communities in the United States, I have seen where good intentions of Washington did not culminate in good environment in the ocean.
I hope that we move beyond the concept that what we did in the past is good enough and that we move beyond the concept that we cannot do better. I think we can and will by working with the community and working with science. I hope today we start the policy that caring for the ocean is not enough. We need to be well-informed, not just well-intentioned to protect the resource for our children and grandchildren.
Again, Mr. Chairman, thank you very much for holding this hearing today.
Mr. SAXTON. I would ask unanimous consent that all Subcommittee members be permitted to include their opening statements in the record without objection.
Our first panel consists of Dr. D. James Baker, under secretary for Oceans and Atmosphere at the Department of Commerce, and Dr. William J. Merrell, senior fellow and president, the H. John Heinz III Center for Science, Economics and Environment.
Let me invite you to proceed. You have those little lights in front of you there. They are kind of a reminder that when 5 minutes goes by we would appreciate you summarizing as soon as possible after that.
Page 21 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Dr. Baker, please proceed.
STATEMENT OF D. JAMES BAKER, UNDER SECRETARY FOR OCEANS AND ATMOSPHERE, DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE
Dr. BAKER. Thank you, Chairman Saxton, Congressman Farr and Congressman Bilbray.
It is a great opportunity for us to be here to testify on the pending House bills H.R. 2547 and H.R. 3445 legislation to review, recommend and implement national ocean policies for the next century. I agree with the Subcommittee that 1998 is the ''International Year of the Ocean.'' It represents an excellent opportunity for the Nation to initiate a major review of its ocean policies and to take actions to improve our understanding of ocean resources and systems.
For the reasons stated below, the Administration believes that the creation of a limited-term nonpartisan commission to review U.S. domestic ocean policies and programs will yield substantial and worthwhile benefits for the Nation.
The Administration has been reviewing the three bills that are the subject of today's hearing, H.R. 2547, which was introduced by Representative Farr with 34 co-sponsors including you, Mr. Chairman, and Representatives Abercrombie and Gilchrest; H.R. 3445, which you introduced last week, Mr. Chairman, co-sponsored by Representatives Gilchrest and Bilbray; and the bill passed by the Senate at the end of the first session of the Congress S. 1213. Just before Senate consideration of S. 1213, the Administration indicated its support for Senate passage of S. 1213, as modified by the Manager's Amendment. The Administration looks forward to working with you, the members of the Subcommittee and the full Resources Committee to craft an ''Oceans Act'' that builds on these three bills. We will provide detailed Administration comments on the House bills in a views letter in the very near future.
Mr. Chairman, if we could provide for the record the letter that was sent by Secretary of Commerce Daley supporting S. 1213, I would appreciate it.
Page 22 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. SAXTON. It will be included in the record. Thank you.
Mr. BAKER. The three bills are different and the Administration would like to work with you to address the issues they raise. Today, I will focus on the two House bills. The guiding principal for the Administration is an Oceans Act that contributes to preservation of the Nation's ocean and coastal areas and does not infringe on the prerogatives of the President and the Executive Branch.
As you noted, Mr. Chairman, today, half of the U.S. population lives within 50 miles of our shores and more than 30 percent of the Gross Domestic Product is generated in the coastal zone. Coastal areas are also prime areas for recreation. But, many of our ocean and coastal resources once considered inexhaustible are now severely depleted. Wetlands and other marine habitats are threatened by pollution and other human activities. This year natural forces are again threatening communities and economies along all of our coasts. Even if this were not the ''International Year of the Ocean,'' there are ample reasons to focus national attention on the health of our ocean and coastal regions and resources.
More than 30 years ago, in 1966, legislation was enacted calling for a comprehensive national program to explore the oceans, develop marine and coastal resources, and conserve the sea. The 1966 Act established a commission commonly known as the ''Stratton Commission.'' The importance of the Commission and its report cannot be underestimated, especially for those of us who owe our jobs to the creation of those agencies. The passage of the legislation and the creation of the commission itself helped call national attention to the ocean and the coast. The commission's report has helped shape U.S. domestic ocean policy for three decades.
NOAA, the agency I am proud to administer, was born from the Stratton Commission study. Important national programs for defense, coastal and fisheries management, offshore development, oceanography, and marine transportation were either initiated or advanced in that study.
Page 23 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Much has changed in 30 years. Scientific and technological advances now provide tools and insights that could only be imagined in the 1960's. Ocean-going commerce and the size of international fleets have increased dramatically; international maritime trade is expected to triple again over the next generation. Exploration of the deep ocean has discovered new mysteries such as thermal vents and many new species. Some discoveries have led to bio-medical advances. These modern changes, discoveries and advances have improved our understanding of the ocean, its resources, and the relationship between ocean, climate, and the coast. We still have much to learn and do. For example, satellite imaging and ocean observing systems in the Pacific have made monitoring phenomenon such as El Niño possible, making it possible to mitigate the impacts such events can have on diverse aspects of our economy and infrastructure. Other technologies have dramatically improved our capability to monitor how human activities alter and affect the health of sensitive coastal regions and habitats. New technologies will help offset the risk of increased marine commerce and larger ships by providing mariners with much more accurate and timely depth, water level and related information.
The role of governments and how they administer programs have also changed dramatically. Legislation and administrative policies have created a new federalism emphasizing state and Federal partnerships. Universities and the private sector are playing increasingly important roles in achieving Federal roles and objectives. Establishing an Ocean Commission will help highlight and prioritize the direction of our future national efforts to reap the benefits of the ocean and its resources as we work to preserve ocean uses and resources for future generations.
A new commission will also help the nation's ocean experts and interests to step back and review our ocean policies and examine our existing tool box of scientific, engineering and management tools. We will have the all-too-rare opportunity to look at the big picture to see what works, what does not, what needs changing, and what new opportunities, ideas, and visions have emerged. The Commission will help focus national attention on ocean activities, promote interagency cooperation, and strengthen partnerships with private and public entities engaged in ocean activities.
Page 24 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The objectives outlined in the bills provide adequate guidance for the new commission. Those objectives are broad enough to encompass most every aspect of marine science, research and management without unduly restricting the discretion necessary for the commission to conduct a thoughtful and successful evaluation and analysis. For example, broad objectives to expand understanding the marine environment, promote stewardship, protect marine resources, prevent pollution, and reduce risks, provide clear yet general direction for the commission.
The 104th Congress recognized the importance of coordination when it established the National Ocean Partnership Program (NOPP) to strengthen cooperation in ocean research and development through partnerships between Federal agencies, academia, and the private sector.
I would just like to conclude with comments about the key opportunity preceding the establishment of the Oceans Commission, and that is the National Conference on the Year of the Ocean that is scheduled to take place sometime in June in Monterey Bay, California. The conference will be hosted by Secretary Daley and Secretary of the Navy Dalton. The Conference has four broad themes: ocean commerce, global security, environment and health, education and exploration.
We look forward to working with Congress, as I have said to Congressman Farr, to develop the agenda and participation on this conference and the events before and after, which I think will be opportunity to expand participation.
With experts from all ocean fields participating in the conference, it offers us a great opportunity to identify and highlight many of the oceans issues the commission may want to address. It is my hope that the Oceans Act will pass before the June conference, and we look forward to working with members of this Committee and other stakeholders as the conference is developed.
Mr. Chairman, let me conclude by saying we have learned much in the three decades since the Stratton Commission completed its work. It is time to reexamine U.S. programs and policies with respect to the oceans and Great Lakes. The pending legislation provides a starting point to establish policies to guide future research, exploration, utilization, and conservation of ocean and coastal resources for the next generation.
Page 25 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I support the need to enhance and maintain the Federal coordinated, comprehensive, and long-range national policy with respect to domestic ocean and coastal activities. The legislation pending before this Committee supports an important, initial step in that process through the creation of a Commission on Ocean Policy is a worthwhile step.
Thank you very much.
Mr. SAXTON. Dr. Merrell?
[The prepared statement of Mr. Baker may be found at end of hearing.]
STATEMENT OF WILLIAM J. MERRELL, SENIOR FELLOW AND PRESIDENT, H. JOHN HEINZ III CENTER FOR SCIENCE, ECONOMICS AND THE ENVIRONMENT
Mr. MERRELL. Good morning, Mr. Chairman, Mr. Farr, Mr. Bilbray.
I am Bill Merrell, president of the Heinz Center. It is a pleasure to testify again during the Year of the Ocean, especially on the need for an ocean commission. Last October, I described to you our plans for our Year of the Ocean at the Heinz Center Steering Committee composed of leaders from academia, business, environmental organizations and government.
The bottom line is we did what we said we were going to do. We held three workshops. The first in Irvine on the oceans multiple impacts on society, the second in Charleston on the challenge of sustainable coasts, the third here in Washington on improving our nation's marine fisheries.
I thank you, Chairman Saxton, and you, Mr. Farr, for your valuable input into our fisheries workshop. As you know, at each workshop the four sectors worked together to identify critical problems and approaches to solving them. I came away from these workshops with the strong conviction that the basis of our problems, both in the oceans and on the coasts, is not bad or incompetent people, but instead failed or incomplete policies and institutions. I also came away from these workshops even more convinced of the absolutely critical need for an ocean commission.
Page 26 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Thirty years ago, the Stratton Commission was specifically charged with using the oceans to expand our nation's economy. Their recommendations led to the legislative actions and institutional arrangements that did just that, expand our economy. Now 30 years later, we see that this economic expansion came at some cost.
Let me use marine fisheries as an example. In 1976, the Magnuson Act nationalized our fisheries. Foreign fishing in the EEZ plummeted from 61 percent to 1 percent in a decade. The resource was ours to manage or to mismanage. Other legislation and tax policies encouraged the building of more fishing vessels with ever-increasing fishing capacity. NOAA was created on the recommendation of the Stratton Commission, and NOAA's National Marine Fisheries Service was charged with the dual responsibilities of promoting and managing the nation's marine fisheries.
As you have often pointed out, Mr. Chairman, all of this led to the identification of a species as underutilized, then to its increasing use and, all too often, its overuse. We know now 30 years after Stratton that sustainability is a better paradigm than growth, that we must balance the use of a resource with conservation of that resource.
We need fundamental changes in policy and institutional arrangements to embrace sustainability. To date that has not happened. We know where we want to go but not exactly how to get there. For example, the Magnuson Act has been amended at least 19 times. During the latest reorganization, it was renamed the Magnuson-Stevens Sustainable Fisheries Act and did include stronger fisheries management and conservation measures.
The Act still does not adequately address excess fishing capacity. It assigns responsibility to protect essential fish habitat, but no real authority. The Act does not address the institutional setups started so many years ago. Despite its title, this Act will not sustain our marine fisheries. There are other examples.
The Coastal Zone Management Act with its many modifications comes to mind. The general lesson is clear. Instead of continuing to make piecemeal changes to policies and institutions established long ago, our nation should pause and examine its fundamental relationship with the sea. It is time. It has been 30 years since Stratton.
Page 27 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Balancing use and conservation should be our goal, and we should not shy away from fundamental change in our policies or our governance structure. It is time to take the issues and approaches developed during ''Year of the Ocean'' and form a set of comprehensive, yet specific recommendations about marine sciences, marine policy and marine governance in support of institutions. This is the essential role of the new commission.
In closing, I hope I convinced you the stakes are high. We need to form an ocean commission. Without a commission to develop the national vision and goals, the momentum generated by ''Year of the Ocean'' will be lost. I applaud your efforts here today and implore you to finish this important task.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Merrell may be found at end of hearing.]
Mr. SAXTON. Thank you very much, Dr. Merrell. As you have heard, we are going to have to take a break here. We have got two votes at least coming up in the next 10 minutes or so. We will get started with some questions anyway.
Dr. Baker and Dr. Merrell, the implications that are drawn from the interest is demonstrated by Mr. Farr, Mr. Bilbray, Mr. Pallone and myself and others including Senator Hollings in pursuing this commission concept. Implicit in this process is the notion that we are not doing a sufficiently comprehensive job in terms of management of ocean resources in coastal areas.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration was created 25 years ago. I also believe that implicit in our moving forward is to look at institutions such as NOAA and to not so much look at the personnel who currently or who have recently been in charge of these institutions, but to look at the institutional structures themselves to try and determine how they can be better structured to do a better job.
Page 28 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC NOAA, for example, was created 25 years ago, and that of course was a result of the Stratton Commission recommendation which Dr. Baker noted earlier. For example, here are some of the weak points that I noticed. NOAA in 1982 proposed, for example, that there be established 29 marine sanctuaries. In the meantime, since 1982 NOAA established 7 and Congress established for a total of only 12. Also, NOAA has made note that 86 stocks of fisheries are listed as overfished, but we are unable to determine the status of 448 other stocks. The NOAA fleet is a third point. The NOAA fleet of coastal ocean and fisheries research vessels has dwindled from 22 vessels to 11 vessels. At present funding levels, it will take 30 years to modernize our navigational services. These are certainly not things for all of us to be proud of. Again, I do not point to the individuals who are currently in charge of doing activities in pursuit of these issues, but I look at the organizational structure.
Given the lack of support for ocean provisions and the perennial budget reductions for NOAA's wet programs, what is it that you think we should look at in terms of the structure that currently exists? What might the commission look at in terms of the structure that currently exists in NOAA or elsewhere to make us more supportive of our goals and missions?
Dr. BAKER. Mr. Chairman, let me start and then I will ask Dr. Merrell to also comment because the fact that the two of us are sitting together here I think is, in part, part of the answer to this very great problem that you pose. It is a problem that I have been concerned about for a long time.
I was a scientist working for NOAA in the late 1970's, and now I have become the administrator, so I can see it from two different sides. These questions that you raise about the need for conservation of coastal resources in the marine sanctuaries is an example of the difficulties we have had with fisheries. The problems of getting attention to the needs for NOAA's seagoing capabilities, the lack of support for navigational services are ones that we are very concerned about.
Page 29 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC When I came in, in 1993, for example, the administration was proposing zero funding for the National Undersea Research program and only about one-third of what had been provided to Congress for the Sea Grant program.
We have made progress in all of these areas, but the progress has been slow. I think the good news is that we all agree on the importance of the problems, but where we have had difficulties is we have not been able to get the resources that are necessary to make the progress that is proper there. I will just give you one example.
On the marine sanctuaries, I took this on as a special topic. We have tripled the budget for marine sanctuaries. But even so we only have about one-third of the budget that is really required according to the marine sanctuary managers to manage the sanctuaries which we currently have, not to mention additional ones.
Now, what can we do to help address the problem? Well, yesterday you, Mr. Chairman, started the process. You asked the secretary of commerce to come in and he designated the deputy secretary. It is the first time ever that we have had a secretarial officer testify to this Subcommittee and point out the Department of Commerce was committed to addressing and helping with oceans issues. I think it was a very important step. I think the establishment of a commission to take a look at how we operate is also very important.
Let me conclude, Mr. Chairman, by saying I think that the answer lies not just in the Federal Government. I think we have to have a new and stronger partnership with the states and with private industry. I think one of the things I am looking for from the commission is guidanceand we would be very happy to talk to the commission and work with themguidance about how we can involve the private sector and the states in the governance of ocean resources in a much more formal and stronger way than we have done in the past.
I was very happy that Dr. Merrell could join me on the panel because he represents the private sector. To have the two of us here, I think, shows that this is the direction that we would like to go.
Page 30 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. SAXTON. Thank you, Dr. Baker.
Dr. Merrell, we are going to have to go vote, and so we will have to hold your response until we get back. We apologize for that.
In the meantime, the folks who are standing in the back of the room, there are some seats up here at this lower desk, if you would care to take them while we are gone.
I think Mr. Farr has a quick statement he wants to make before we go.
Mr. FARR. Well, the question I want to ask, and I want you to think about it while we are gone, is whether we really need to have a national ocean council. It is in the Hollings bill neither in the House bill, that is the major difference. Then, I would like your specific recommendations in light of what you have both said as to what do we need to strengthen the bill. This is the road map for what the commission is going to do; and if it is not asked, it will not have to do it. We ought to make sure that the bill is stating all of the things that we need to have stated.
Mr. SAXTON. We were about to hear from Dr. Merrell relative to the basic question, What is it about our institutional structure that might provide for more progress with regard to better management of ocean resources?
Dr. Merrell, you may go ahead and provide your thoughts.
Mr. MERRELL. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I would say that your questions and your data really show the need for a fresh look. There are perfect questions as to why we need the commission to address what we are talking about today. We need new policies, we need new organizations, we need new ways of working with the states and the local governments. I think if we look at the problems we facenonpoint source, coastal habitats, those sorts of thingsit will not be solved by any one entity. It will be solved by the entities working together. I think that is important.
Page 31 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I think that really argues that we need a fresh look at those types of problems. When we look at the Federal issues, maybe all of Stratton's work is not done. They did recommend that NOAA be an independent agency. That recommendation has never been followed, not that I have any problem with the present leadership in Commerce or with NOAA. The statistics that you have shown are that over the years our interest in the ocean and our support of the oceans has gone down clearly.
I think, again, the real issue is that it is important that we get a new commission that is free to examine our fundamental relationship with the sea, how this nation views its relationship with the sea. We need to ask the question of how to balance the use of the resource with the conservation of the resource. We need to keep that in front of us and we need to look at the organizations needed to do that and the policies needed to do that.
I think at that point you ask yourself, What are the organizations that would best serve our nation and its relationship with the sea? I would hope the commission would take a totally fresh look at that and really think about what is necessary. I think that would be the way to answer the types of questions that you have posed.
Mr. SAXTON. Thank you. Let me just pursue one other related issue. I frame this from the point of view of personal experience. The question that I have is I believeand do you?that public opinion today is that there may not be much to worry about with regard to the ocean, and therefore that attitude is reflected institutionally in the Congress and the Administration because we are a representative government and because there does not seem to be a lot of public pressure to move forward with things that we are discussing today.
I ask that question and come to the conclusion that it is a major factor and something that we need to address because of an experience that I had in 1987 and 1988 when public opinion was very much boldly in favor of making changes in the management of ocean resources in the Northeast.
Page 32 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC From Long Island to New Jersey to Delaware to Maryland in the summers, in the two summers of those 2 years, we suffered algal blooms. We suffered from dolphins washing up on our beaches. We suffered from medical waste washing up on our beaches. In the coastal areas that I represented, that Mr. Pallone now represents, that Jim Howard then Congressman represented, that Norm Lent from Long Island then represented, that Ray McGrath at that time from Long Island represented, there was no issue that was more important to our constituents that better ocean management. Today, the converse seems to be true.
You may have heard me say before that one of the most rewarding experiences of my political career just happened, a little happenstance where I was walking down the boulevard on Long Beach Island and a lady came off the beach and gave me a hug and said, ''Please go to Washington and thank your colleagues for what you did.''
I said, ''What is that?''
She said, ''I just walked out in the ocean and looked down and saw my feet, and that is the first time in my life that ever happened,'' she said.
I suspect there is a notion among many people who live in coastal areas today that things are pretty good when, in fact, from a scientific point of view, and if one takes a closer look, things aren't so good. That may be one of the problems we are having. And, how do we address it?
Dr. BAKER. Congressman Saxton, I fully appreciate what you have said. I think your support in raising attention has been very important. I think the public opinion may be stronger toward conserving and protecting the oceans than one might think. There was a poll done last year by the Seaweb organization, a very broad poll, and right at the top was the fact that the public felt, the majority of the public felt, that we needed to protect the oceans, the oceans need help and that resources should go to that protection.
It was a very important poll, and we should make sure that this Committee gets copies of that. We will do that. But that was, I think, heartening for us because I think it supported the points that you make that the public really is beginning to understand these problems.
Page 33 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. SAXTON. Dr. Baker, it is not reflected. Maybe what you just said is the public is beginning to understand these problems or maybe the poll indicates that the public does understand these problems. I think a very compelling case can be made that the institutions that are responsibleI am pointing fingers at Congress, too, not just administration agenciesit seems to me that that public opinion is not very well reflected in the actions and the commitments that we government types have institutionally made to ocean management. There is a disconnect somewhere, either it is on the public side or there is a disconnect between us understanding what the public wants us to do or perhaps there is another explanation.
Mr. Merrell, would you like to comment?
Mr. MERRELL. Yes, I would, Mr. Chairman. The PEW Charitable Trusts did fund that. I read the results very encouraging, that the public is getting more and more concerned. I remember more people supported ocean programs than the space program, which was shocking to me. I can tell you that in the 200 people we got together for our workshops we saw people who are, again, they are decisionmakers and they are stakeholders so they are a little closer to the problem than the general public, but we saw people who were very concerned and anxious to work together to solve these problems.
I do see a broad series of people who are being exposed to this problem and are realizing that it is a very difficult problem. It is going to involve changes in the ways that we actually look at the ocean, how we use the ocean. I certainly agree that it is all of our duties to get this information out to the public.
I think when the public understands what is happening they will come along, and they do want something to happen. I honestly think that. I think that we have a communication problem. I cannot think of a better time. If we cannot do this during the Year of the Ocean, we are not going to ever be able to do it, Mr. Saxton. We had better get after it and get this message out.
Page 34 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. SAXTON. Thank you, Dr. Merrell.
Mr. FARR. The question about the formation of a National Oceans Council, could you both reflect on that, whether we need to have an Oceans Council? You know, that is in the Hollings bill; it is not in either of the House bills. All bills create a commission. I understand that the Interagency Ocean Policy group and the National Ocean Partnership program already exist within the Federal Government to coordinate ocean policy. Why do we now need a separate council?
Dr. BAKER. Congressman Farr, let me start the discussion on that. The Administration is on record as supporting a council as provided for in S. 1213, the Hollings bill. We had a debate within the Administration on that proposal and decided as an Administration we would support that bill. There is a letter, as I said, read into the record from Secretary Daley that says that the Administration supports S. 1213, which has both a Commission and a National Oceans Council which brings together the Federal agencies that have oceans interests. We are on record as supporting that. We are looking forward to working with this Committee on the House side.
Mr. FARR. Well, could you reflect on the rationale? Why do you think it is necessary?
Dr. BAKER. Why did we support that?
Mr. FARR. Yes.
Dr. BAKER. For the following reason. If you look at current Federal ocean policy and how we handle it, in April 1995 there was a ''Presidential Decision Directive'' on United States policy on protecting the ocean environment. This is the official statement of the United States policy that encompasses the other statements that we make. That is April 1995, and a ''Presidential Decision Directive'' is the way that we make policy. That policy is to be implemented by an Interagency Working Group on Global Affairs, and there is an ocean subgroup that is responsible specifically for that. We do have a group that looks at the policy on protecting the ocean environment.
Page 35 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC We also have established the National Ocean Partnership Program, a program that was proposed by Congress and agreed to by the Administration. The Program has a National Ocean Leadership Council. That partnership program focuses on research. It is specifically aimed at looking at research issues and is just in its infancy. We think it is a good program, and we support it. NOAA was the first agency outside the Navy to actually have a proposal in the budget to show that this was not just a Navy program, which had been funded strictly through the Navy at the beginning. We are eager to make that happen.
I think the view that lead to our support of the Senate bill was that in spite of the things that are in place, more needs to be done. We can have better interagency coordination. We have pulled together an informal group called the Ocean Principals Group that has been discussing issues of how we can coordinate.
This is, as I say, not a body that is legislated or has a formal charter, but it is an informal group to look at the broad issues. I think we feel that having a body that brings together the Federal agencies, all of those Federal agenciesand there are more than 20 Federal agencies that have ocean responsibilitiesis something that could be effective.
We felt that the way the Senate bill is written it is something that we could support. It is an issue that we continue to debate. The National Space Council, I think, was effective in raising space issues to a high level. I think that an Oceans Council properly constituted is something that could do the same thing.
Mr. FARR. Dr. Merrell?
Mr. MERRELL. I should qualify this is my personal opinion. While I strongly support the commission, I see no particular need for a council. One of my problems with it is that I think it presumes an outcome of the commission. I think if a council is set up, it should be in response to some sort of a recommendation by the commission. I would point out the administration can set up such a council anytime they wish anyhow as far as I can tell.
Page 36 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. FARR. You would leave it up to the commission to make that decision?
Mr. MERRELL. If it is any kind of a permanent council. I also would point out that under Dr. Baker's leadership, the Ocean Principals has been a revitalized group and I think would be suitable for getting information to the council, which I am concerned about. From the government to a commission, I think the information flow is something that we do have to think about.
Mr. FARR. The other question was we are all here caring about the oceans and yesterday we had a little bit of a session on how could we get more money spent on the wet side, a little more money in the O than in the A. I am not sure we are against the A side of what NOAA is doing, but we would like to have equilibrium. I think there is a bigger issue here. Mr. Bilbray talked about it and Mr. Saxton talked about it.
How can we use this process this year? If you are going to be in the limelight, then now is the time. We have got to put some money where our mouth is. What comes out of this if we do care about the oceans and we care about things we have been talking about, we are going to have to put some more money there. What is your recommendation on how we can elevate the public appreciation for ocean resources and the funding for their conservation?
Mr. MERRELL. Well, let me start out by saying I think it is critical that as we look at our nation's fundamental relationship with the ocean that we focus on all of the aspects of that. I would argue that if you just look at atmosphere and ocean you are not looking at enough. I think you have to look at the coastal issues. I think the biota is critical. If we are going to do ecosystem management, we need ecologists. We need to really think about how we organize.
I come back to the issue we were talking about. I think we need to look at our fundamental relationships and this should not be viewed as a battle between atmosphere and ocean. What it ought to be is what we can all put together to really look at the problems facing our coastal area and our ocean and how we can get the experts working together on that issue.
Page 37 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I think that is going to take fundamental change. I do not think we can piecemeal it anymore. I think we have piecemealed this since Stratton for 30 years. I think we are going to have to sit down and get past exactly what you are talking about where we are looking at the Weather Service doing this and that and instead start looking at all of the different types of sciences that are needed to address these very fundamental long-term, difficult questions.
Mr. FARR. In a diminishing budget, I mean, we are in this balanced budget so we are not going to be able to have the luxury to have new add-ons. We have to rob Peter to pay Paul or get more efficient or have a strong economy and just have better income. I am really concerned because the space agencies seem to have done a pretty good job of convincing the public and Congress alike that we ought to build space stations, very controversial and very expensive things that I have supported.
We are going to have to figure out where we are going to get the resources to do that. I agree with you, and I think all of these things can help. This is a struggle. Coming from the private sector I would really appreciate some thinking about how we might create a national lobby for this effort.
Dr. BAKER. Congressman Farr, I agree with you. It is a problem that we have been looking at. We have been able to increase some parts of the NOAA budget on the ocean side. The Fisheries Service is an area where we have actually had an increase over the last 4 years of almost 30 percent. I think that is because of a very strong interest from Congress in telling the Administration ''You have to be aware and you have to do something about these issues.'' Even within a difficult budget where we have lots of competing priorities, we have been able to increase part of itbut not all of it by a long shot.
I look at it in the broader sense like this. The United States has an expanding population, needs for resources, and an exclusive economic zone that extends out 200 miles. We know very little about these, but this is where our resources for the future are.
Page 38 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. FARR. That is the frontier.
Dr. BAKER. That is it. We have to be out there understanding what the problems and what the resources are and enabling the use of these. Just one example where we are seeing a huge problem is with harmful algae blooms. All around the country we are seeing new toxic species appear in areas that we have not seen them before. We know that this is a problem that is growing each year. It is a problem which, in my view, is as great or greater than any climate change issue.
As we change the chemistry of our coastal ocean and hence are changing the biology, we are going to affect the fisheries. It is a very, very difficult problem that extends all the way into the center of the country, and farms with runoff for fertilizer. We have got to address this. I think we can get public attention to issues this way.
Mr. FARR. I know the time has expired. Do you think the national conference is going to get into that kind of thing, like, the effect of algae blooms and others?
Dr. BAKER. Absolutely. You know, we have four topics that we are currently looking at and we are looking forward to discussing with you your views about that, commerce, transportation, global security, environment and health and education and exploration. The environment and health section is, in fact, directly aimed at that issue. It is one that I think we can take up. If we can get attention in that way, I think we can build the resources that we need.
Mr. SAXTON. Before we go to Mr. Bilbray, let me, Dr. Baker and Dr. Merrell, just say that both Mr. Farr and I wrote our bills without providing for a council. My impression, or my objective at least, is to provide a fresh look at ocean policy, a fresh look, an unencumbered look, if you will.
Now, in the Hollings bill the council is made up of, presumably, the designees of these people, but it says ''Shall consist of the secretary of commerce and the secretary of defense, the secretary of state, the secretary of transportation, the secretary of the interior, the attorney general, the administrator of the EPA,'' et cetera, et cetera. You get the idea.
Page 39 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC My fear is that this does not provide us with an opportunity for much of a fresh look, especially in light of the fact that the report in Mr. Hollings bill, the report paragraph (h) on page 24 says in part, ''The Commission shall submit to the President, via the Council,'' their report.
I have all of the faith and confidence in the world that these heads of agencies are good people and their designees are well-intentioned people, but I cannot for the life of me convince myself that this will provide much of a fresh look. Our fresh look idea is to involve people who are not currently involved directly in the governmental process, some scientists, some experts in the field, some people who are not encumbered by thehow can I say it?inertia of the current bureaucracy that we are all involved in.
This Committee could attempt to take a fresh look, but we have a vested interest. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration could attempt to take a fresh look, but you are encumbered by the current situation and all of the things that are involved. Our concept is to try to get this fresh look with some fresh folks who do not have encumbrances involved in their lives and in their professional endeavors currently. If you would like to, just respond once again each of you to this fresh look idea that Mr. Farr and I think is a good one.
Dr. BAKER. Congressman, I think this fresh look is absolutely critical, and I think that we hope that the Commission can provide that fresh look. As I look at the Senate bill, one of the points of having a Council was to assist the Commission in providing its report and to serve as a forum for a discussion inside the Federal Government.
As I say, as the administration looked at the Senate bill, we felt that that was a useful function. We have not yet provided a views letter on the House bills, and we are currently developing that views letter and so your points are very useful to me. I will take this back to the discussion so we can incorporate that as we develop our views letter.
Mr. MERRELL. Again, I see no particular use for the council. I think the commission should be as free to work as possible. I think the concern that we should have is to be sure that the commission can get the information that it needs to make its recommendations.
Page 40 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. SAXTON. Thank you.
Mr. BILBRAY. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Dr. Baker, you were mentioning that a commission or a body may help to stimulate interest in the ocean environment, in the ocean experience, and that you equated the success of the space programs based on a commission. I have as much aerospace probably as much as any district, and I think we have got to be very frank about it. There is a built-in industry right there always encouraging Congress for monetary reasons, not just scientific, to put resources in our aerospace strategies. Let us be very blunt about it. The ocean has been the orphan because it does not have a rich uncle like the aerospace industry to be able to be here lobbying for our effort in the ocean.
Would you not agree that one of the major problems we have had those of us who are interested in the ocean is that the ocean has been an economic thus political orphan in a lot of ways compared to the aerospace industry?
Dr. BAKER. Yes. Congressman Bilbray, I absolutely agree with you. The fact is the ocean reflects all of these needs and it has all of the wonderful issues that we need to address, but we simply have not had the resources that we need to do it.
Mr. BILBRAY. In fact, I would point out recently it just happens that while there may be some waning of political or public interest in aerospace exploration, we just happened to have found a meteorite that may indicate life on Mars. Some people debate now that it is crystal formation.
There was so much media blitz about this may be leading to the identification of the source of life, but we did not see the same type of blitz go to what is a much more substantive find, and that is: the sea vent life forms and the enzymes in sea vents, which have hundreds of times more potential to be able to answer the question of the source of life.
Page 41 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I am just saying as somebody who is just sort of caught in between aerospace and the ocean what the public is seeing and hearing from the media, and in some ways those of us in elected office, there does not seem to be consistence to what the science is telling those of us who are taking the time to listen to it.
Dr. BAKER. Well, you are absolutely right. I can just give one ray of hope here and that is this recent El Niño that we have been facing. You have seen it there in California. The El Niño is driven by the ocean. If we had not made ocean measurements, we could not have forecast the El Niño. It is this Subcommittee and the Appropriations group that gave money to NOAA to support the research that allowed us to do the forecasting. Believe me, the public is concerned about El Niño. This is, I think, a small start on exactly the problem that you are talking about.
Mr. BILBRAY. I appreciate you brought up El Niño. Being not just a surfer but also a representative of Scripps Institutional Oceanographyin fact, the comment that was made was that those of us who are surfers who approach the big waves and warm waters of El Niño like jackals circling a wildebeast, but not necessarily with the right attitude.
I think El Niño should be an example, though. I sat on the Committee on Commerce where I watched people who thought they really cared, believed in the environment vote against the funding for El Niño research because they thought it was the long-term global forecasting that was being tied to global warming and other ozone observations, and they didn't understand the distinct difference between the two approaches. There were people getting caught back and forth in this issue.
I think that we have got to point out that the atmospheric information we got applied with ocean information we got has enlightened us to a point to where we have got to consider it when we look at the biological. Now, you are talking about a certain type of blooms. Isn't it true that we really do not have enough baseline information to reasonably be able to inform the public of what really are impacts of a lot of human activities.
Page 42 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I will give you a good example, kelp growth. So often we thought that the die off of kelp on the Pacific coast was somehow caused by coastal pollution as a major, major problem. Although now more and more over the last 20 years, we have researched it and we find that natural fluctuations in ocean temperatures is probably the major hit.
The problem is the public does not hear about that because there is not some kind of dire, evil person or group to be able to attack. Your comment about that kind of information, the whole globalwe talk about the air, the ocean and the biological, trying to tie those together rather than approach them separately, which is historically what we have been doing.
Dr. BAKER. That is absolutely true. I think that we are beginning to see some interest there, but we do not have enough baseline information. We can see that as we try to understand why we have some of these fluctuations, why fisheries move from place to place or longer-term climate fluctuations, and so this is an area where we need a lot more support.
Mr. BILBRAY. Well, Mr. Baker, I thank you. I will just close by saying the frustration I had working on the El Niño global warming may be tied together. A lot of my scientists were frustrated with elected officials at the highest level tieing natural phenomena to what may be a manmade activity and trying to make political hay out of it.
The other frustration was watching representatives of the Midwest of the farming communities vote against funding to do long-term weather forecasting, which the beneficiaries overwhelmingly would be their constituents. Because it was out in the ocean and far away, in their minds, they thought that it did not affect their community, and it probably affects their community more than any other segment of our American society.
Dr. BAKER. That is true.
Mr. BILBRAY. Thank you very much.
Page 43 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I yield back, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. SAXTON. Dr. Merrell, would you like to comment on Mr. Bilbray's last question?
Mr. MERRELL. Well, I will say the oceans are important to our economy. As you well know, tourism; fisheries, which you will hear about; oil and gas interests, which you will hear about in the next panel are very important to our economy. Your point that the aerospace industry is organized in a way that they have a lot of impact, we have a lot of businesses that generate a whole lot of jobs. They do a whole lot of good, and they are not heard from as much.
I think something that we really need to think about is we have to make it clear that there is huge economic impact with the ocean. Mr. Farr's example of the otter being the symbol and the sanctuary there, people coming there as a destination, are just excellent areas where preservation and conservation and use will go hand in hand in some very powerful ways.
I think if we can work together to achieve that we may be able to get groups coming in here, the kind that you are talking about, and really trying to explain to the members here just how important to the economy the oceans are.
Mr. BILBRAY. Doctor, you will admit, thoughand I think the point the chairman said about if we form an advisory group or a research group let us not make them the traditional Washington-based government agencies that we traditionally domostly because you are right, there are major economic opportunities out there and basic benefits from the oceans. The trouble is they tend to be small, unorganized groups that are cumulatively very small operations, very small economic units that are not organized in the megacorporations like you have with aerospace.
Mr. MERRELL. Right.
Mr. BILBRAY. Washington is much more sensitive and responsive, sadly, to the mega-operations. I think that is why I strongly support the intent of the chair, that the fact that we allow those who are always the last to be heard in Washington to be the first in line on this issue.
Page 44 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. MERRELL. I agree.
Mr. SAXTON. Thank you very much, Mr. Bilbray.
Dr. Baker and Dr. Merrell, thank you very much. We appreciate the extended time that you have been willing to spend with us this morning. The Members may have some additional questions for you, and we ask that you would kindly respond to those questions in writing. The hearing record will remain open for 30 days for those responses.
Thank you for being with us.
I would now like to introduce our second panel. We have Dr. Kenneth Brink, chairman of the Ocean Studies Board of the National Academy of Sciences; Mr. Richard Gutting, the executive vice president of the National Fisheries Institute; Roger McManus, president of the Center for Marine Conservation; and Paul L. Kelly, senior vice president of Rowan Companies, Inc.
As the second panel is finding their way to their places, I would like to remind the witnesses about our 5-minute rule for testimony. Your written testimony will be included in the record. As you are in your places, we will begin with Dr. Kenneth Brink.
Sir, you may begin.
STATEMENT OF KENNETH BRINK, CHAIRMAN, OCEAN STUDIES BOARD, NATIONAL ACADEMY OF SCIENCES
Mr. BRINK. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, for the opportunity to appear before this Subcommittee to comment on this important and timely piece of legislation.
My name is Kenneth Harold Brink, and I am a senior scientist at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts. I also serve as chair of the Ocean Studies Board of the National Research Council. The board was established to advise the Federal Government and the Nation on issues of ocean science and policy.
It has been about 30 years now since the Stratton Commission used its very broad mandate to study ocean affairs in the United States and to make recommendations. It certainly left a lasting mark on the way we consider the ocean in the United States, perhaps most notably through the foundation of NOAA as a joint ocean atmosphere agency. The wisdom of that joint ocean atmosphere agency became more clear as time went by. When it was first formed, it was something of an academic exercise.
Page 45 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Since the Stratton Commission, the world has certainly changed. There have been some really great, I believe, achievements in ocean sciences in the United States. For example, during the cold war, capabilities in antisubmarine warfare were amazing. We were able to detect and track submarines in the open oceans in a way that was astounding. It took about 20 years to develop a predictive capability with El Niño, that capability is paying off now and certainly the public is very aware of the phenomenon in a way that 20 years ago seemed inconceivable.
Hydrothermal vents are underwater geysers deep in the ocean, and they and the living communities around them have really changed the way we think about the universe. It has really been a piece of basic science information that has been an eye opener to our entire community.
Finally, technology and communications have changed all aspects of our lives and it has certainly changed the way that we do ocean science. Just consider the growth and use of satellite remote sensing, for example.
I believe it is time now for a new Stratton Commission. The cold war has ended. It has made it appropriate to rethink the reasons for why we do basic research. The United States does have, I believe, the best ocean science community in the world. It is extremely strong, and we need to think about the future directions for that community.
I see three great challenges in the ocean sciences that we need to be thinking of in the next decade, one is sustainable ecosystems in the ocean. That includes issues of fisheries, how we can exploit fisheries and at the same time not ruin them, issues of diversity of life in the ocean and how we use that information about diversity to develop pharmaceuticals and other things that will help our society.
The second grand challenge comes in what I call ''healthy coasts,'' and involves issues of harmful algae blooms, runoff from the land and how it affects ecosystems in the coastal ocean and how the ocean affects the land through coastal hazardshurricanes, floods and so forth.
Page 46 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Finally, a third grand area that I think we need to be thinking of in the next decade is climate prediction. When I say ''climate prediction,'' I mean on the time scales from years, typical of El Niño, out to time scales of tens of years where we are now discovering that there seem to be new modes of coupled ocean atmosphere climate changes over both the Pacific and the Atlantic.
Finally, I believe that a commission with a broad mandate will be well positioned to cover the range of agencies involved in the ocean. I think it is important to point out the range of agencies because it has been very hard to get all of these agencies working together in the past.
I would like to mention a few issues that I think are appropriate for the new commission. One is to raise the question of how we deal with these challenges, are we making the right investments in the right places at the right levels to ensure timely results and timely dissemination of these results to be actually useful to our society.
For a given problem that is being considered within, say, an agency of the government, we need to consider whether there is an appropriate mix of strategic and short-term research. We know that it is all too easy to get bogged down in short-term problems and not look at the bigger picture.
Ocean sciences require complex specialized facilities such as ships. These things take time and typically about a decade of planning. We have to ask if we are prepared to go forth into the coming decades with the new problems that we need to deal with.
Finally, we will be dealing increasingly with major scientific issues that require efficient cooperation among agencies as well as sometimes internationally, especially when it comes to climate issues. We have to ask whether the coordination amongst these agencies could be improved and what we can do to encourage that improvement.
The question came up earlier about a council. My own opinion on the council is that it makes sense to wait until we get the recommendations of the commission before we decide whether it is worth going forward with the council and in what form that council should take.
Page 47 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I expect the new commission will uncover numerous aspects of the U.S. ocean enterprise that work very well, indeed, as they are now. I think also that the commission will find areas where improvements can certainly be made.
In any case, I believe that a fresh look at the health and direction of the U.S. ocean enterprise could prove useful indeed. The National Research Council stands ready to assist in this effort as needed and appropriate.
Thank you again, Mr. Chairman, for the opportunity to appear before this Subcommittee today.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Brink may be found at end of hearing.]
Mr. SAXTON. Thank you very much.
STATEMENT OF RICHARD GUTTING, EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT, NATIONAL FISHERIES INSTITUTE, ALEXANDRIA, VIRGINIA
Mr. GUTTING. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
My name is Richard Gutting, and I am executive vice president of the National Fisheries Institute. The institute represents 1,000 companies engaged in all aspects of the U.S. fish and seafood industry. Our companies operate vessels in all of the major U.S. fisheries and they also process, distribute and sell fish and seafood products in thousands of facilities around the United States.
The institute supports the establishment of the commission for the simple reason that we believe that its recommendations could help our industry as well as the government in improving our fisheries and their contribution to the American people. We also feel that the recommendations of the commission could help better integrate fishery management into all of the other activities that impact our fisheries.
Page 48 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC You have my written statement. I am not going to read it. Instead I would like to react to some of the conversation, the very good conversation, you had with the last panel. Congressman Farr, you mentioned that you thought you might want to strengthen the bill in a couple of aspects. You mentioned states and you also mentioned education. I will give you another suggestion, food.
The bill does not really focus in on food. One of the things that has happened in the last 30 years is that with the increasing global population the need to feed people has become a more urgent issue. The needs of hungry people are certainly going to be much more urgent in the next 10 or 20 years. The U.S. Government has committed itself along with all other nations to move toward food security.
There was a Food Summit and a declaration that was called the ''Rome Declaration of World Food Security.'' Fisheries was part of this. In light of this it would be appropriate to give more emphasis to food in the bill. I think there is another reason to do this, and that is because by doing so we will make more real progress.
I remember, Mr. Chairman, 1987 and 1988, when the trash was washing up on the New Jersey beaches and there was great public concern. Well, there is a great concern today over pfisteria. In the next few weeks, 15 presidents from seafood companies around the country are going to join with 15 presidents from the big companies that supply the recreational fishing industry and we are going to spend two days together along with scientists to try to puzzle through why these toxic blooms and pathogens are occurring.
We have been told by the scientists that as much as $1 billion worth of food could be unlocked if we could solve these problems. We hope that by focusing on food, and the food that is not available to us now, we might be able to come up with a solution. We would certainly welcome the commission's attention to that subject. By focusing on the food the oceans could provide we might find some answers and really improve the quality of life of all Americans.
Page 49 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The other comment that struck me, Mr. Bilbray, was your mention of ocean experts. I certainly agreed with your comment. The need to bring in a ''fresh look,'' the Chairman said. One word of caution. I say this with all due affection to ocean scientists and from my experience of 30 years in ocean policy. There are groups that care very deeply about ocean policy. They tend to be visionaries, and they tend to be scientists.
It is important that they be involved and make a contribution. But too often in the past these ocean experts come in with overoptimistic visions of things that are going to happen, which in the real world, in the world of business and the global marketplace, just have not occurred.
I would ask that you be sure to include on the commission business people, people who are focused on jobs and practical results. Because if you do not include them, this is all going to be just so many words on paper and another file-and-forget report.
Mr. Farr, I have heard you say that when it comes to oceans it comes down to the economy, and I agree with that. It comes down to the folks back home, and you need to be sure that the people with the practical experience and knowledge of taking big ideas and translating them into jobs, that those people are involved. I didn't quite see that emphasis in this commission. Those are my two ideas and suggestions: focus on food, and include business people.
I thank you very much.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Gutting may be found at end of hearing.
Mr. SAXTON. Thank you very much, Mr. Gutting, for the very thoughtful and articulate statement.
STATEMENT OF ROGER McMANUS, PRESIDENT, CENTER FOR MARINE CONSERVATION, WASHINGTON, DC
Page 50 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. MCMANUS. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, Mr. Farr and Mr. Bilbray.
I am Roger McManus, and I am the president of the Center for Marine Conservation. I am very pleased to be here to talk about these bills. I understand my written testimony will be made part of the record.
I want to go back initially to your comments, Mr. Chairman, regarding public interest. I think from our perspective the public is extremely interested in changing ocean policy. I would comment that for all of us here in Washington sometimes we are a little bit behind the rest of the country, and I believe the rest of the country will lead us on this issue, just as I think the rest of the country led us in some Magnuson Act reforms that you, sir, and others here helped champion and get through the Congress.
In particular, though, today I want to emphasize what others have alluded to that this nation has an enormous potential in its marine environment. Over 4 million square miles of our territory, so to speak, is marine as compared to 3.5 million square miles of land. We have the largest marine territory of any nation on earth and in that we have an enormous opportunity for ourselves and future generations.
I think it is time now, time is ripe, for an answer to the challenge before us to take care of the resources in this area. The important point of these bills is that despite the threat to these resources and despite the opportunities available to us this nation has no plan for the exclusive economic zone. We have no plan for the largest portion of our country. This is the singular most important reason why these bills need to be passed and passed expeditiously.
In the ''International Year of the Ocean,'' you and your colleagues are taking important steps to respond to the challenge of this need. I think the people of the United States will, indeed, support it and will be very thankful for this effort.
Page 51 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC We have a few suggestions about the House bills that I would like to put forward, some of them differing from my colleagues, but I think there is much agreement as well. We do see a clear mandate for the commission engaging the public, and I would argue that the hearings around the country should be required so that people can participate and there is a special effort made to encourage public participation.
I think the Stratton Commission also was successful because of the leadership of its chair and the effectiveness of the executive director and staff of that commission, and we urge that everything be done possible to make sure that those kind of conditions exist in this new initiative.
However, we also support the development of the council that is in the Senate bill, and for some reasons that are different than have been discussed here previously. I am not particularly anxious for the council to interfere with the work of the commission. I share your views, Mr. Chairman, and particularly watching the growing debate during ''Year of the Ocean'' in the executive branch, that what we do not need is the executive branch dictating or controlling the views of the commission. We need some fresh thinking.
In the meantime, business has to go on. I do not think the challenges that we face in the oceans can suffer any longer from the lack of coordination that is required within the executive branch to move forward while we wait for the commission's advice.
Therefore, we would support the establishment of the council. We think it needs to be done by Congress. We do not think the administration will do it by itself, and we do not think it will be effective if it does not come with your kind of leadership and direction, sir. While we urge rapid passage of the Oceans Act, we have articulated in our written testimony 10 points for implementing sounder ocean policy in light of the ''Year of the Ocean.'' While I don't propose to go through all of those now, I would like to hit a few high points. Particularly, I want to point out with respect to your recent work, sir, the problems regarding funding.
Page 52 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC [Chart.]
Mr. MCMANUS. As the chart on my left shows, we are seeing a decline in the amount by percentage being made available for research in ocean issues. The other chart I would call to your attention as pointing out why we need to change our ways through the commission and through other work is the fact that the greatest sources of coastal and marina pollution now are recognized now to be nonpoint sources of pollution.
What we see is that most of the money goes to wastewater treatment. I am not arguing against wastewater treatment. We actually need to do more of it, but we recognize in the scientific community now that the real threat to coastal and ocean environments is nonpoint source pollution, and we need to deal with that.
If I may just take a few moments and go on with just a few other points. One of our major points is that we need to strengthen the National Marine Sanctuary program and other efforts to set aside and protect marine protected areas. In the very broad sense of the exclusive economic zone, this nation does not have the kind of protection and zoning that has worked and has contributed to conservation on land. This needs to have a fresh thinking and it needs to be addressed more effectively.
We also need to make sure that the great advancements in the Magnuson Act reauthorization are not subject to a retreat. We are seeing a lot of growing sentiment among folks that are concerned about the efforts that will be made to recover our fisheries, that we should roll back the protections that have been afforded by that new Act. While it is not perfect, we would argue strenuously that as part of the year of the ocean we move forward.
We also need to strengthen the Clean Water Act, protect in a greater way the coastal and marine environment and make the same kind of advances in the marine environment as we have done for fresh water. As part of that, I would argue that we need to give Americans peace of mind when they go to the beach. Your state, sir, has done a lot of work in this area, for which I think a lot of credit can be taken.
Page 53 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Nevertheless, for most Americans when they go to the beach they have no idea what their families or their children will be getting into. We need Federal standards to establish quality of water that is acceptable for coastal areas and also to have public officials monitor those areas and tell the public when it is safe and when it is not. I don't think it is very responsible at all in this country to allow people to be subject to harmful pollution when we can do something about it.
I would also say that similar steps need to be taken to better ensure the quality of our seafood. Two other things that I will raise in closing, sir. Last year, was the ''International Year of the Reef.'' While there is much done to promote education of the reefs and also much done to improve research, we did very little to actually protect reefs from further degradation. I would argue that as part of the ''Year of the Ocean'' that we initiate legislation to establish a national program to protect America's coral reefs, which are some of the finest coral reefs in the entire world.
Finally, sir, dealing with the issues that have been raised about the economic values of the ocean, I would suggest that a carefully managed and healthy ocean is going to provide a lot more economic benefit than anything else we can do that may come out of our deliberations on the ocean. One of the areas that offers tremendous value for humankind has been addressed in this hearing, and that is in the pharmaceutical area.
Right now if I was representing a company from another country, I could come into the exclusive economic zone of the United States, and I could harvest the resources of the United States of America, the pharmaceutically valuable organisms. I could destroy their ecosystem and I could even destroy what was left of them, if I could figure out how to do it. I could take it all home. I could process those chemicals and make billions of dollars, and I would not even have to tip my hat to the United States of America.
I think that is wrong. I think we need new legislation that will seek to manage and conserve these resources, which may be the largest economic value we will get from the oceans. Today, the success of drugs on the market may be measured in terms of billions of dollars, and that certainly is a rich area for us to protect.
Page 54 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
[The prepared statement of McManus may be found at end of hearing.]
Mr. SAXTON. Thank you very much, Mr. McManus.
STATEMENT OF PAUL L. KELLY, SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT, ROWAN COMPANIES, INC.
Mr. KELLY. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
I am Paul Kelly with Rowan Companies, which is an international drilling contractor based in Houston. I serve on the Department of Interior's OCS Policy Committee as a representative of the petroleum industry and I have served as past chairman of that committee.
Today, I am here to represent six major oil and gas trade associations in America that represent most of the companies involved in this business: the National Ocean Industries Association, the American Petroleum Institute, the Domestic Petroleum Council, the International Association of Drilling Contractors, the Independent Petroleum Association of America, and the Mid-Continent Oil and Gas Association.
The organizations that I am representing today are mindful that 1998 is the ''International Year of the Ocean.'' I also serve on the Heinz Center Year of the Ocean Steering Group just like most of the other gentlemen at this table, which as you know is a partnership of industry, government, the environmental community and academia charged with planning U.S. activities for the Year of the Ocean.
I do not want to be ''the skunk at the garden party,'' but I think we as an industry probably have more concerns over the establishment of the commission than have been expressed by most of the other witnesses today. The petroleum industry has not been totally well-served by some of the institutions that came out of the Stratton Commission Report.
Page 55 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC During the past decades, statutes such as the Coastal Zone Management Act and the National Environmental Policy Act have sometimes been used not always in good faith to block activities of our industry in the offshore. While it is always difficult to get six different trade associations to agree on any policy, we do agree that if the work of the commission were to lead to an excessively protective approach that does not take into consideration adequately multiple use of ocean resources in a balance of environmental and economic interests that it will be a nonstarter.
At the same time, I hasten to congratulate my colleagues here on the Heinz Center Steering Group. If our work on ocean policy in the future could be like the work we have done in the steering group, it could have much merit. I think the spirit of the YOTO Steering Group has been one of interest in each other's ocean activities emphasizing how we can do things working together in an economically and environmentally balanced way, not emphasizing on how we should not do things or where we should not do things. I think that there has been a real spirit of consensus building and partnering in the steering group from which we can take an object lesson for in the future.
We have several ideas on this legislation that we urge you to consider. We certainly hope that the nation's interest in a sound energy policy will be reflected in the work on ocean policy that goes forward. First, we are concerned that in the background materials of the Subcommittee's work and in some of the testimony from the administration on the various bills there has not been enough regard to the success we have had with offshore oil and gas development in America, both from the standpoint of benefits to the taxpayers and technology advances which are great.
Chief among our recommendations is that you should not begin with the assumption that all ocean policies and statutes necessarily constitute a problem. For example, the policies that govern energy development in the Central and Western Gulf of Mexico have been a resounding success. They have fostered a robust industry that produces jobs for our citizens, energy for the Nation and revenue for the Treasury.
Page 56 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. SAXTON. Mr. Kelly?
Mr. KELLY. Yes, sir.
Mr. SAXTON. I am sorry to interrupt. I gather from your testimony that you have got several minutes at least of things you would like to say?
Mr. KELLY. Yes, I do.
Mr. SAXTON. Well, Mr. Farr and I have to go vote, and so we will pick up your testimony in about 15 minutes when we return, if that is all right with you?
Mr. KELLY. Very good.
Mr. SAXTON. Thank you.
Mr. SAXTON. Mr. Kelly, why don't you continue. We are very sorry about the interruption, but that is how Congress operates.
Mr. KELLY. I understand, Mr. Chairman. I have been here before.
I think when we broke I was talking about the success we have had in the Gulf of Mexico exploring for hydrocarbons on the shelf and in deep waters. I want the Subcommittee to know that these activities have been managed with specific regard for health, safety and the environment. Offshore oil and gas operations are highly regulated to meet stringent environmental standards.
We are governed by an extremely complex, comprehensive and numerous set of statutes and regulations. These include the OCS Lands Act, NEPA, the Clean Water Act, the Clean Air Act, the Oil Pollution Act, the Marine Sanctuaries Act, the Marine Mammal Protection Act, the Coastal Zone Management Act, as well as RCRA.
Moreover, new technology has eliminated or minimized the effect of offshore operations on plant and animal life. Indeed, production platforms serve as artificial reefs that are used by a diversity of marine organisms for spawning, feeding and shelter. This has been of benefit to both commercial and recreational fishing. There has also been a huge benefit from the offshore oil and gas program in terms of environmental research, and this should not be overlooked.
Page 57 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The Department of Interior's Minerals Management Service has now spent in excess of half a billion dollars on environmental studies offshore, and they have accumulated a tremendous library of useful information that could be extremely useful to other ocean resource users. At the suggestion of the OCS Policy Committee a couple of years ago, they computerized this data to make it more available to the public.
The economic and environmental success of the nation's ocean management policies in the Gulf raise the question of why other offshore areas are precluded from producing similar benefits to the nation. It seems to justify a reexamination of current offshore minerals management policies to eliminate such prohibitions.
In these areas, it seems that scientific and technological advances have moved out ahead of public policy and knowledge of those advances. I believe this is something all the witnesses could agree on, that it is time to look at ocean policy in light of the technological developments we have had in the past 30 years. That is why I liked the comments made earlier about taking a fresh look, because conditions have really changed.
As I indicated before, there is some uncertainty in our industry whether there is an ocean policy problem that warrants the establishment of a commission. If, however, it is determined by members of the Subcommittee and the Congress that one is needed, we feel that it is premature to recommend the establishment of a council before the commission even meets and deliberates.
We have had successes in U.S. ocean policy and we have had failures. If Congress determines that a commission is needed, it should be charged with examining these and determining what has worked and what has not worked. It should take its input directly from all stakeholders with an interest in the ocean, as well as the work of the YOTO Steering Group, which would provide good background data.
I associate myself with the comments of Mr. Gutting made earlier that it is important to work this from the bottom up as well as from the top down in terms of Federal, state and local relations. It is very important that any work done involve the business community and the stakeholders who are actually doing things in the ocean.
Page 58 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Moreover, we feel that a commission should only make policy recommendations to Congress. Neither the President nor the commission should adopt new ocean policies without full consideration, approval and oversight by Congress. The Commission's recommendations also should be subject to cost-benefit analysis, risk assessment and peer reviewed science.
The commission should ''sunset'' shortly after making its report to Congress, as is the case in S. 1213. It is our view that the addition of another federally supported permanent entity is not needed and may run contrary to the objective of a leaner, more efficient government.
The commission should be charged with managing a broad range of interests with a stake in oceans policy, as I indicated, and Congress should mandate that the membership on the commission be balanced among stakeholders including geographic, scientific, regulatory, economic, and environmental interests.
Moreover, the commission should be required to consider a range of the nation's many important concernsagriculture, the environment, energy, fishing, marine transportation, and others. To that end, the commission's recommendation should balance environmental and economic issues and concerns.
In conclusion, as significant stakeholders in ocean resource management decisions, we in the energy industry are hopeful that the Subcommittee will carefully consider these comments, and we are prepared to participate with you in the future.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Kelly may be found at end of hearing.]
Mr. FARR. [presiding] Thank you very much. Mr. Saxton had to step out for a moment, and I am going to proceed with the questions that I have. I want to, first of all, say how much I appreciate Mr. Gutting and Mr. Kelly talking about the need to involve the stakeholders.
Page 59 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I think we all agree. I am a little concerned with some of your last statements on the standards that you would apply to the commission. I would suggest that those are probably standards that you would not want applied to every oil and gas exploration if you had to go through all of that checklist, because in many cases you would find that you could not hold up to sometimes the cost-benefit analysis.
I mean, because when I found that in our area when lease/sale 63, I think it was, off the central coast of California was proposed, that another industry, the tourism industry and the agricultural industry, lobbied very effectively against the drilling for interests in their own industry. They were saying that this was a high-risk/low-gain for local businesses, and perhaps a high-gain/low-risk for a national oil policy. If you are going to do a bottoms up and really listen to people at the local level, your industry may not come up on top. The need to have a balance is obviously there.
I also take issue in your complaint about the OCS legislation affecting policy on oil and gas. I think the ExxonValdez experience had more subsequent law making affecting tanker trafficking and the cost of doing business in the near shore than anything that could have come out of the OCS legislation.
I think that there is also a concern here, and that isand I would like to just step back for a moment. We have had a history of following development of resources, essentially, whether there has been risk capital put in to develop resources and to harvest resources. As a nation, we have just kind of let that happen, and the only areas that we did not let it happen, I think, is where we sat aside some national parks. I am thinking back a hundred years.
What has happened, though, as people overharvested for us or overmined and had downstream damages there was an economic consequence which led to environmental management issues. I really think that a lot of the regulation that has hit industry has been because the excesses of that industry ended up damaging somebody else's economic interests. It was not just a bunch of greedy environmentalists saying ''This is not good.''
Page 60 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC There are economic interests out there for everybody. I am reminded of the fact that we just released two condors in the Big Sur region. You have the most expensive hotels in the country, the Post Ranch Inn and Ventana where it is $450 minimum at the Post Ranch, I think, to spend the night. You have an increased interest in staying there because people now think they can now see a condor. That is an economic interest that is enhanced by resource management. What we do in politics is we try to make it all fit.
The point I want to ask both of you gentlemen is we have a chance with the oceans now to bring it all together. You know, if you want to shut down a fishery, overfish it. If you want to shut down an oil and gas exploration, do it wrongly. I mean, create an impact that has a negative consequence.
It seems to me that we have the ability through this oceans legislation, and I would hope that you would both get your industries to support it. If we were talking about doing space exploration, Lockheed would be in here and Boeing would be in here. Those industries that build the machinery to get us into space and all of those vested interests would come to the format and say, ''A council,'' as Dr. Baker said, ''or a commission would be right up our alley. Although we are not going to own it, we embrace the fact that you are going to spend money to do it.''
That is what I think is lacking in the ocean area. We do not have that commitment by the private sector industry to walk into a big picture situation, because of fear that the big picture may end up somehow with some environmental restriction that will hurt our industry. I think that is really shortsighted and that is not traditionally how American business goes.
As we venture out with this new legislation, because it is your vested interest in it, I would hope you would embrace the legislation, Mr. Kelly, and say, ''No, we are going to stand by this.'' I kind of heard you say, ''We are going to stand on the sidelines and watch.'' I think that is wrong.
Page 61 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. Gutting, I think you are absolutely right. Your best interest is to manage these fisheries so they will be there to be able to be harvested appropriately. I think if you are going to have all of the heads of industry together I hope that you will commit yourselves to this interest that we have got to lobby the ocean agenda. We have got to lobby it all together, because if we do not, what is going to come out of it is those who are interested in lobbying it will cut out what they think is just best for them, and that will not be the big picture. That is my comment and a question. I think the question is, Will you commit yourselves to that kind of effort and get the industries behind you?
Mr. GUTTING. If I might respond, Mr. Chairman.
This Committee has just spent 4 years taking an extraordinarily intensive look at how fisheries are managed. As a result, we have a long list of reforms and changes and additions that we are now implementing. We in the industry are optimistic and excited about some of these changes, and we think that within the fisheries we are now on the path to building that sustainable future that you were talking about.
Where this commission becomes very important for our industry is not in the internal aspects of fishery management, which have been addressed, but it is in the interface between what we are doing in fisheries and the other economic activities out there. These activities can have a tremendous impact on our ability to provide food to the American people.
I mentioned pfisteria, but there is a whole panoply of phenomena out therered tides, brown tides, pathogens. We have experienced pfisteria here. You were at the forefront in looking at that phenomena. These are the concerns now that are on the minds of my members, and these are outside the realm of fishery management.
As I indicated, we welcome a national focus. We welcome a commission to address the interfaces between fisheries and other activities. I think it is extremely important for our future, and so you will find us supporting any kind of organized effort to bring the best science together with the stakeholders.
Page 62 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I will make another statement, which is in my written testimony but I didn't mention it to you. Right now ocean policy is being formulated on the front pages of the newspapers and in the nightly news. We see and hear many sensational stories. They may or may not be based on fact.
One of the things that is very attractive about what you are proposing in this legislation is that you are going to, I hope, bring the very best science and factsnot romance, not emotion, but true factsto bear and the results will be in a definitive report.
There has been a lot of emotion; we have heard a lot of rhetoric; we have seen a lot of romance about fisheries and oceans. They go so far, but it is time now for us to bring science and fact and business and the stakeholders together and try to make some sense out of this.
Mr. KELLY. Mr. Farr, if I could give my answer to your question as well. You have said a lot and there is a lot to comment on, but let me say up front that you can be sure that if Congress proceeds with this legislation the offshore petroleum industry will be a participant. We will hope to be involved in the deliberations of a commission or any other organization that is established. We will definitely play a part, just as we are now in respect of the Heinz Center Steering Group.
You mentioned cost-benefits analysis, risk, and ExxonValdez. What we would hope to showand the kind of cost-benefits analyses you are talking about is a very large onethat the cost, the perceived cost, has been reduced. The risk has been reduced by new technology that has evolved over the past 30 years as well as by better safety practices in our industry.
ExxonValdez was a transportation accident and not an offshore accident. What really hurt us was Santa Barbara in 1969. But if you look at the record, you will find that the U.S. industry has had an exemplary environmental record since that time which we think should reduce the risk perceived by other ocean users.
Page 63 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I wanted to explain to you, too, in terms of being involved in this initiative there is not an industry in the United States that is more involved in ocean development today than the petroleum industry. For example, just yesterday the U.S. petroleum industry put over $1 billion on the table in bidding on an offshore lease sale in the Gulf of Mexico. We have had a series of lease sales now where similar amounts of money have been put up.
You talk about ''big ideas,'' the industry is proceeding ahead with very big ideas in the deep water Gulf. We now have oil and gas production in over 3,000 feet of water in the Gulf. We expect to add 1 million barrels of crude oil per day to domestic production from the Gulf of Mexico by the year 2000. We have actually drilled a well in 7,700 feet of water two summers ago. There are research consortiums, including one called Deep Star that spent $9 million in the last 4 years trying to determine how we function in these water depths.
Mr. FARR. I understand that. I do not want to debate this and time is limited. We have got to exit the room and I know that the Chairman has a question. I just think that sometimes there may be overriding concerns, say, that this is not the time now or the place to do oil drilling, regardless of the technology. That is what all of the debate is about. You and I we can debate that for years. I agree with you there are much better technologies and I applaud the industry for developing them.
Mr. SAXTON. Thank you, Mr. Farr.
I am sorry. We have been asked to vacate the room at 1 p.m. and it is after that. I would just like to commend all of you for very good testimony. I would like to conclude the hearing by just reading a couple of paragraphs which I think are particularly important and really quite powerful from Mr. Gutting's written statement. Mr. Gutting writes:
''Thirty years ago, our fishing fleets lacked the capacity to harvest all the fishery resources off our coasts, and we faced overwhelming competition for these resources from very powerful foreign fleets fishing off our coasts. Today, those fisheries which once were unavailable to our fleets, are now producing billions of pounds of food for Americans. New technologies have been incorporated into our processing and distribution systems and many new products have been introduced.
Page 64 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC ''Most of the large underutilized stocks referred to in the Stratton Commission 30 years ago are now fully harvested, and the Commission fully considered the growing need for bringing recreational harvest under effective management. Nor did the Commission fully consider the growing need in bringing recreational harvests under effective management. The jurisdictional premise of the Stratton Commission's fishery management recommendations are no longer valid. Obviously, it is time for Congress to set up a mechanism through which America's ocean policies can reflect today's reality.''
I would like to include letters that have been sent to the Committee.
[The letters follows:]
The Honorable JOHN MCCAIN,
Chairman, Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation,
United States Senate,
DEAR MR. MCCAIN:
The purpose of this letter is to provide the Administration's views on the Oceans Act of 1997 (S. 1213) as reported by the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation. As you prepare to bring the bill to the Senate floor, your consideration of the Administration's views would be appreciated.
The Committee has developed a bill that supports and furthers the Administration's ocean policy goals. The Administration has in place robust interagency mechanisms for coordinating ocean policy issues. We believe that the bill as modified by the Manager's Amendment that was recently provided to us, would be consistent with, and assist in achieving, the Administration's domestic ocean policy objectives. Accordingly, the Administration supports Senate passage of S. 1213, as modified by the Manager's Amendment.
Page 65 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC We have been advised by the Office of Management and Budget that there is no objection to the submission of this letter to the Congress from the standpoint of the program of the President.
Mr. SAXTON. Thank you very much for coming to today's hearing. We look forward to moving this bill together. We thank you very much for your very thoughtful contribution.
[Whereupon, at 1:05 p.m., the Committee was adjourned.]
[Additional material submitted for the record follows.]
STATEMENT OF D. JAMES BAKER, UNDER SECRETARY FOR OCEANS AND ATMOSPHERE NATIONAL OCEANIC AND ATMOSPHERIC ADMINISTRATION, U.S. DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE
Good morning. I am James Baker, Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere and Administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. I thank you, Mr. Chairman, and members of the Subcommittee, for this opportunity to testify on pending House bills, H.R. 2547 and H.R. 3445, legislation to review, recommend, and implement national ocean policies for the next century. I agree with the Subcommittee that 1998, as the International Year of the Oceans represents an excellent opportunity for the nation to initiate a major review of its ocean policies and to take actions to improve our understanding of ocean resources and systems. For the reasons stated below, the Administration believes that the creation of a limited term, nonpartisan commission to review U.S. domestic ocean policies and programs will yield substantial and worthwhile benefits for the Nation.
Page 66 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The Administration has been reviewing the three bills that are the subject of today's hearing, H.R. 2547, which was introduced by Rep. Farr with thirty-four cosponsors, including you, Mr. Chairman, and Reps. Abercrombie and Gilchrest; H.R. 3445, which you introduced last week, Mr. Chairman, cosponsored by Reps. Gilchrest and Bilbray; and the bill passed by the Senate at the end of the first session of the Congress, S. 1213. Just before the Senate consideration of S. 1213, the Administration indicated its support for Senate passage of S. 1213, as modified by the Manager's Amendment. The Administration looks forward to working with you, the members of the Subcommittee and the full Resources Committee to craft an ''Oceans Act'' that builds on these bills. We will provide detailed Administration comments on the House bills in a views letter in the very near future.
The three bills are quite different and the Administration would like to work with you to address the issues that they raise. The guiding principle for the Administration is an Oceans Act that contributes to preservation of the Nation's oceans and coastal areas and does not infringe on the prerogatives of the President and the Executive Branch.
Today, half of the U.S. population lives within 50 miles of our shores and more than 30 percent of the Gross Domestic Product is generated in the coastal zone. Coastal areas are also prime areas for recreation. But, many of our ocean and coastal resources once considered inexhaustible are severely depleted. Wetlands and other marine habitats are threatened by pollution and other human activities. This year natural forces are again threatening communities and economies along all of our coasts. Even if this were not the International Year of the Ocean, there are ample reasons to focus national attention on the health of our ocean and coastal regions and resources.
More than thirty years ago in 1966, legislation was enacted calling for a comprehensive national program to explore the oceans, develop marine and coastal resources, and conserve the sea. The 1966 Act established a Commission on Marine Science, Engineering, and Resources, commonly known as the Stratton Commission for its chairman, Julius Stratton. The importance of the Commission and its report cannot be underestimated. The passage of the legislation and creation of the commission itself helped call national attention to the ocean and the coast. The Commission's report has helped shape U.S. domestic ocean policy for three decades. NOAA, the agency I am proud to administer, was born from the Stratton Commission study. Important national programs for defense, coastal and fisheries management, offshore development, oceanography, and marine transportation were initiated or advanced in the study.
Page 67 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Much has changed in 30 years. Scientific and technological advances now provide tools and insights that could only be imagined in the 1960s. Ocean-going commerce and the size of international fleets have increased dramatically; international maritime trade is expected to triple again over the next generation. Exploration of the deep ocean has discovered new mysteries such as thermal vents and many new species. Some discoveries have led to bio-medical advances. These modern changes, discoveries, and advances have improved our understanding of the ocean, its resources, and the relationship between ocean, climate, and the coast. But we still have much to learn and do. For example, satellite imaging and ocean observing systems in the Pacific have made monitoring phenomenon such as El Niño possible, making it possible to mitigate the impacts such events can have on diverse aspects of our economy and infrastructure. Other technologies have dramatically improved our capability to monitor how human activities alter and affect the health of sensitive coastal regions and habitats. New technologies will help offset the risks of increased marine commerce and larger ships by providing mariners with much more accurate and timely depth, water level, and related information. The role of governments and how they administer programs has also changed dramatically. Legislation and administrative policies have created a new federalism emphasizing state and Federal partnerships. Universities and the private sector are playing increasingly important roles in achieving Federal goals and objectives. Establishing an Ocean Commission will help highlight and prioritize the direction our future national efforts to reap the benefits of the ocean and its resources as we work to preserve ocean uses and resources for future generations.
A new commission also will enable the nation's ocean experts and interests to step back and review our ocean policies and examine our existing tool box of scientific, engineering and management tools. We will have the all-too-rare opportunity to look at the big picture to see what works, what does not, what needs changing, and what new opportunities, ideas, and visions have emerged. The Commission will help focus national attention on ocean activities, promote interagency cooperation, and strengthen partnerships with private and public entities engaged in ocean activities. The mechanisms outlined in the bills to establish the commission will result in a diverse body that is supported by the Congress and the Administration. This should promote consensus on achieving and implementing the commission's recommendations. The objectives outlined in the Bills provide adequate guidance for the new commission. Those objectives are broad enough to encompass most every aspect of marine science, research, and management without unduly restricting the discretion necessary for the commission to conduct a successful and thoughtful evaluation and analysis. For example, broad objectives to expand understanding of the marine environment, promote stewardship, protect marine resources, prevent pollution, and reduce risks from natural and manmade hazards provide clear yet general direction for the commission. Emphasizing the continued development of new technologies and promoting interagency and intergovernmental cooperation are also valid and necessary objectives.
Page 68 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The 104th Congress recognized the importance of coordination when it established the National Ocean Partnership Program (NOPP) to strengthen cooperation in ocean research and development through partnerships between Federal agencies, academia, and the private sector. NOPP has successfully increased interagency cooperation in the area of ocean research and provides a good example of how coordinating an integrated Federal effort can maximize use of limited resources and implement change in a timely and efficient manner.
We have learned much in the three decades since the Stratton Commission completed its work. It is time to re-examine U.S. programs and policies with respect to the oceans and Great Lakes. The pending legislation provides a starting point to establish policies to guide future research, exploration, utilization, and conservation of ocean and coastal resources for the next generation. I support the need to enhance and maintain the Federal coordinated, comprehensive, and long-range national policy with respect to domestic ocean and coastal activities. The legislation pending before this Committee supports an important, initial step in that process through the creation of a Commission on Ocean Policy is a worthwhile step.
Mr. Chairman I would be happy to answer any questions members of the Subcommittee may have.
STATEMENT OF DR. KENNETH H. BRINK, SENIOR SCIENTIST, WOODS HOLE OCEANOGRAPHIC INSTITUTION AND CHAIR OF THE OCEAN STUDIES BOARD, NATIONAL RESEARCH COUNCIL
Good morning Mr. Chairman and Members of the Committee. Thank you for the opportunity to speak to you today as you consider the proposed Oceans Act of 1998. My name is Dr. Kenneth H. Brink and I am a senior scientist at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. I also serve as the chair of the Ocean Studies Board (OSB) of the National Research Council, and I am here today primarily in that capacity. The National Research Council is the operating arm of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine, chartered by Congress in 1863 to advise the government on matters of science and technology.
Page 69 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The Ocean Studies Board was established to advise the Federal Government and the nation on issues of ocean science and policy. The Board's members are leaders in ocean science and policy, employed both in academia and in the private sector. Most of our activities are initiated at the request of Federal agencies. For example, we have carried out a number of studies for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) on topics such as coastal and fisheries management (see accompanying list).
It has been about 30 years since the Stratton Commission was formed. It was a broad-based group that included scientists, policy makers and the ocean user community. The Commission was given a relatively broad mandate to examine ocean activities across a range of agencies in the United States. Based on its study, it produced a number of recommendations many, but not all, of which were implemented. Those that were carried out include the creation of the Sea Grant program (NRC 1994c) and, most notably, the creation of NOAA as an agency responsible for both oceanic and atmospheric affairs. Thus, the Stratton Commission cast a very long shadow and its recommendations had a profound influence on the structure of ocean sciences that exists in the United States today.
The United States is the pre-eminent power in ocean sciences research in the world. This position has been maintained in part by a multi-faceted, flexible institutional structure as well as by a Federal commitment to fund research in the basic sciences. Technology has also contributed heavily to the U.S. leadership position and has grown in ways that would probably have been inconceivable 30 years ago. For example, computing power has made possible extremely sophisticated ocean measurement systems and powerful numerical models of ocean phenomena. Satellite technology and Internet communications have made it possible to gain sweeping views of the ocean's surface and disseminate this information rapidly to scientists.
Improved technology and growing scientific sophistication have led to a number of remarkable accomplishments over the last decades. One stunning achievement in support of national security was our capability to detect and track foreign submarines in the open ocean, an accomplishment requiring an understanding of acoustics, signal processing, computing, sensors and ocean physics. Another impressive accomplishment involved the prediction of El Niño, an ocean-atmosphere phenomenon originating in the equatorial Pacific Ocean. Nowadays, we hear about El Niño daily, but it took a twenty year sustained effort of observations and modeling to make the present impressive prediction capability possible. Routine prediction may, in time, lead to substantial savings to the U.S. economy by making adaptive agriculture and other mitigation practices possible (NRC 1997).
Page 70 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Finally, the last 20 years has seen the astounding discovery of deep-sea hot-water vents. These hitherto undiscovered sites contain unique life forms that have given us a deeper, broader understanding of the structure of life itself. A fundamental discovery such as this sparks our curiosity, opens new doors for potential applications, and helps us to comprehend our place in the universe.
The overall success of the United States ocean science enterprise to date suggests that the Stratton Commission did its work well. For example, the prescience of placing oceanic and atmospheric matters in one agency paid off handsomely when it came to NOAA's important role in predicting El Niño events. But, the world, including the ocean science world, has changed dramatically over the last thirty years (NRC 1992). The Cold War has ended, causing the nation to rethink the need for national security related research, including in the ocean. In addition, new fields of scientific inquiry have developed with new national investments. As a result, although the overall ocean sciences budget has increased somewhat, it has declined by a factor of two when expressed as a fraction of the total basic research funding in the United States. We are now faced with a range of new ocean challenges and opportunities that we were barely aware of 30 years ago. For example, we must address the issue of sustaining ocean ecosystems, including the role of fisheries management, and the importance of preserving marine biodiversity (NRC 1998, 1995, 1994a). We need to maintain or improve conditions in coastal areas in the face of pressures from development and an ongoing flow of substances from the land to the ocean (NRC 1994b). And we need to improve our capabilities for climate prediction on time scales longer than the few years typical of El Niño.
In this context of opportunities and challenges, proposals for a new, broad-based, ocean commission are quite timely. Ocean sciences in this nation have traditionally been scattered across a number of agencies, having different mandates, and having oversight by different congressional committees. This diversity is desirable in many ways, but it makes it difficult to gain an overall view of United States ocean activities. In light of the pressing societal questions connected with the ocean, and the changing context of science, it may be helpful to review our ocean activities in a more comprehensive way.
Page 71 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC There are a number of issues that a new Commission could deal with, and I list a few examples here.
In light of the important ocean problems that need to be addressed, are we making the right investments, in the right places, and at the right levels, to assure useful results and their dissemination?
For a specific problem, is there an appropriate balance between long-term strategic research and more immediate ''tactical'' research, where answers are needed quickly? Within any single agency, it may be difficult to strike the right balance, given the press of immediate concerns.
Ocean sciences involve complex, specialized facilities, such as ships, that require substantial lead-time and investment. Yet, facility needs change as technologies change. Are we well positioned to provide the right mix of facilities as they are needed?
We deal increasingly with major scientific issues that require efficient cooperation among many agencies, institutions, and nations in order to meet our goals. Can coordination among ocean agencies be improved? The ongoing Global Change research program may provide useful lessons in this regard. We can expect a growing internationalization of many aspects of science, so coordination needs to be thought of both nationally and, as appropriate, globally.
I expect that any examination of the U.S. ocean enterprise will uncover both areas in need of improvement as well as praiseworthy aspects that can serve as models for change. A fresh look at the health and direction of the United States ocean enterprise could prove very useful and the National Research Council stands ready to assist as needed.
Thank you again for the opportunity to speak with you today.
Page 72 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
National Research Council (NRC). 1998. Improving Fish Stock Assessments. National Academy Press.
National Research Council (NRC). 1997. The Global Ocean Observing System: Users, Benefits, and Priorities. National Academy Press.
National Research Council (NRC). 1995. Understanding Marine Biodiversity. National Academy Press.
National Research Council (NRC). 1994a. Improving the Management of U.S. Marine Fisheries. National Academy Press.
National Research Council (NRC). 1994b. Priorities for Coastal Ecosystem Science. National Academy Press.
National Research Council (NRC). 1994c. A Review of the NOAA National Sea Grant College Program. National Academy Press.
National Research Council (NRC). 1992. Oceanography in the Next Decade: Building New Partnerships. National Academy Press.
STATEMENT OF RICHARD E. GUTTING, JR., EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT, NATIONAL FISHERIES INSTITUTE
Mr. Chairman and members of the Subcommittee, I am Richard E. Gutting, Jr., Executive Vice President of the National Fisheries Institute. Thank you Mr. Chairman for giving the Institute this opportunity to testify.
The Institute represents more than 1,000 companies engaged in all aspects of the United States seafood industry. NFI members operate vessels in all of the major fisheries of the United States, and they process, distribute, and sell fish and seafood in thousands of facilities located throughout the United States. We are the largest organization representing the U.S. fish and seafood industry.
Page 73 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Our Institute supports the establishment of a Commission on Ocean Policy. The recommendations from such a Commission could help guide both government and our industry in further improving the way ocean fisheries are conducted and in better integrating the many different governmental and private activities which effect ocean fisheries.
Thirty years have gone by since a similar Commission was established. Since that time, the U.S. fish and seafood industry has modernized and expanded. The challenges and opportunities we face now are quite different than those we faced in the 1960's.
Thirty years ago, our fishing fleets lacked the capacity to harvest all the fishery resources off our coasts, and we faced overwhelming competition for these resources from powerful foreign fleets fishing off our coasts. Today, those fisheries which once were unavailable to our fleets, are now producing billions of pounds of food for Americans. New technologies have been incorporated into our processing and distribution systems and many new products have been introduced.
As a result, Americans are enjoying a wider variety of seafood products of superior quality and seafood's contribution to better health and nutrition has soared. On average, Americans today eat about 15 pounds of seafood each year. This compares to about 10.3 pounds in 1960, and 12.5 pounds in 1980. Scientific reports and government studies cite fish and seafood as low in fat, easily digestible, and a good source of protein, important minerals, and vitamins. As Americans become increasingly aware of these health and nutritional advantages, their demand for more and better seafood products should grow.
Most of the large underutilized stocks referred to by the Stratton Commission 30 years ago are now fully harvested. The fish protein concentrate the Stratton Commission touted has proved not to be feasible. Nor did the Commission fully consider the growing need to bring recreational harvests under effective management. The jurisdictional premises of the Stratton Commission's fishery management recommendations are no longer valid. And the Commission's recommendation that a way be found to reduce excess fishing effort seems more urgent than ever.
Page 74 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The challenges we faced 30 years ago in supplying Americans with seafood, in short, are dramatically different than those we face today. It is time, the National Fisheries Institute believes, to take a second look at how the United States can best use the oceans as a source of food to meet the growing needs of its expanding population.
Opportunities abound if we can bring the challenges into focus at the national level. Much more seafood could be produced if we could find a way to avoid early fishery closures because of bycatch. Scientists also tell us that significant gains in seafood production are possible if waste is eliminated, if the fisheries damaged by pollution or lost habitat are restored, and if over-fished fisheries are rebuilt. Aquaculture also offers a way to boost food production and generate new jobs for coastal communities. Indeed, one academic study estimates that as much as $5.6 billion in additional economic activity and 181,000 jobs are already being generated by aquaculture producers.
With many fisheries reaching biological limits, new ways must be found to produce fish and seafood. And the new strategies which are needed must be fashioned within the realities of the global marketplace in which we find ourselves. Today the world's population is 5.5 billion people. By the year 2020, it will increase 45 percent to 7.9 billion.
Our nation needs to focus on the oceans. An Ocean Commission, which brings diverse interests together, could help generate this focus.
Such a Commission also could help bring scientific knowledge together with policy making. Today, ocean policy is being driven by the media, which is well meaning, but not technologically knowledgeable. It is time to bring together science and policy makers in an open forum to separate what is romance and emotion from what is scientific fact.
In this regard, it is important that the Commission be given adequate resources to investigate and assess the issues before it. It is equally important that the work of the Commission not duplicate the efforts called for in the numerous fishery-related studies that Congress has asked for in the Sustainable Fisheries Act of 1996.
Page 75 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Our nation needs ocean policies that will meet the needs of our growing population. The Institute is confident that through public education and cooperation between all levels of the government, our nation can develop long-range policies that will foster the sustainable use of the oceans and its fishery resources.
STATEMENT OF PAUL L. KELLY, ROWAN COMPANIES, INC. ON BEHALF OF THE NATIONAL OCEAN INDUSTRIES ASSOCIATION, THE AMERICAN PETROLEUM INSTITUTE, THE DOMESTIC PETROLEUM COUNCIL, THE INDEPENDENT PETROLEUM ASSOCIATION OF AMERICA, THE INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF DRILLING CONTRACTORS, AND THE NATIONAL MID-CONTINENT OIL & GAS ASSOCIATION
Good morning, Mr. Chairman and members of the Subcommittee. I am Paul Kelly, Senior Vice President of the Rowan Companies, which is engaged in worldwide onshore and offshore drilling operations. I am also past chairman of the Department of the Interior's Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) Policy Committee and am pleased to appear here today on behalf of several trade associations that represent American companies that are actively involved in oil and gas operations in U.S. waters.
These associations include the National Ocean Industries Association (NOIA), which represents more than 280 companies and many individuals involved in the exploration and development of domestic offshore oil and natural gas resources; the American Petroleum Institute (API), which represents more than 400 companies involved in all aspects of the oil and natural gas industry, including exploration, production, transportation, refining and marketing; the Domestic Petroleum Council (DPC), which is a national trade association representing the largest independent natural gas and crude oil exploration and production companies in the United States; the Independent Petroleum Association of America (IPAA), which represents America's 8,000 crude oil and natural gas exploration companies that drill more than 85 percent of new U.S. wells, including those in the OCS; the International Association of Drilling Contractors (IADC), which represents nearly 900 contract-drilling and well-servicing firms, oil and gas producers, and suppliers of oilfield equipment; and the Mid-Continent Oil and Gas Association, a national trade group representing both major and independent oil and gas companies on domestic exploration and production issues.
Page 76 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The organizations I am representing here today are mindful that 1998 is the international Year of the Ocean (YOTO). I am particularly involved because I serve on the Heinz Center's YOTO Steering Group, which is comprised of leaders from all major sectors concerned with the oceanindustry, government, the environmental community and academiaand has been charged with planning U.S. activities for the Year of the Ocean.
Since Congress is evaluating the need for a new ocean policy commission, its composition and the potential scope of its work, I am pleased to have this opportunity to share with you the views of the six associations I am representing here today.
We have several ideas on the subject that we urge you to consider. We are especially hopeful that the nation's interest in sound energy policy, environmental policy and ocean resource management policy will be considered during the Subcommittee's deliberations.
Chief among our recommendations is that your deliberations should NOT begin with the assumption that current ocean policies or statutes necessarily constitute a problem. For example, the policies that govern energy development in the central and western Gulf of Mexico have been a resounding success. The policies have fostered a robust industry that produces jobs for our citizens, energy for the nation and revenue for the treasury. To illustrate these benefits, attached is a summary of funds generated from OCS development and distributed to the states and districts represented by the members of this Subcommittee.
These activities in the Gulf have been managed with specific regard for health, safety and the environment. Offshore oil and gas operations are highly regulated to meet stringent environmental standards. Existing Federal statutes governing our industry in the offshore and OCS are numerous, complex and comprehensive. They include the OCS Lands Act, the National Environmental Policy Act, the Clean Water Act, the Clean Air Act, the Oil Pollution Act, the National Marine Sanctuaries Act, the Marine Mammal Protection Act, the Coastal Zone Management Act, the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, and others. Moreover, new technology has eliminated or minimized the effect of offshore operations on plant and animal life and production platforms serve as artificial reefs that are used by a diversity of marine organisms for spawning, feeding and shelter. This has been a benefit to both commercial and recreational fishing.
Page 77 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The economic and environmental success of the nation's ocean management policies in the Gulf raise the question of why other offshore areas are precluded from producing similar benefits to the nation and seems to justify a reexamination of current offshore minerals management policies to eliminate such prohibitions. In these areas, it seems that scientific and technological advances have moved out ahead of public policy and knowledge of those advances.
As we've indicated, it is not clear that that there is an ocean policy problem that warrants the establishment of a Commission. If, however, it is determined that one is needed, it is premature to recommend the establishment of a Council before the Commission has even met and deliberated.
We have had successes in U.S. ocean policy and we have had failures. If Congress determines that a Commission is needed, it should be charged with examining these and determining what has worked and what has not worked. It should take its input directly from all the stakeholders with an interest in the ocean, as well as the work of the YOTO Steering Group.
Moreover, a Commission should only make policy recommendations to Congress. Neither the President nor the Commission should adopt new ocean policies without the full consideration, approval and oversight by the Congress. The Commission's recommendations should be subject to cost/benefit analysis, risk assessment and peer reviewed science.
The Commission should ''sunset'' shortly after making its report to Congress, as is the case in S. 1213, as passed by the Senate, and H.R. 3445. It is our view that the addition of another federally supported permanent entity is not needed and may run contrary to the objective of a leaner, more efficient government.
The Commission should be charged with representing a broad range of interests with a stake in oceans policy and Congress should mandate that membership on the Commission be balanced among stakeholders, including geographic, scientific, regulatory, economic, and environmental interests. Moreover, the Commission should be required to consider a range of the nation's many important concernsagriculture, the environment, energy, fishing, marine transportation and others. To that end, the Commission's recommendations should balance environmental and economic issues and concerns.
Page 78 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC In conclusion, as significant stakeholders in ocean resource management decisions, we are hopeful that the Subcommittee will carefully consider my comments here today. I thank you for providing me this opportunity to present the views of the industries, companies and individuals involved in offshore oil and natural gas operations.
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STATEMENT OF THE AMERICAN ASSOCIATION OF PORT AUTHORITIES
Mr. Chairman, the American Association of Port Authorities (AAPA) submits this statement for the record for the Subcommittee hearing on Ocean Policy Bills. AAPA represents the major public port agencies throughout the Western Hemisphere. This statement represents the views of AAPA's United States delegation. The U.S. public port industry, made up of State and local government agencies, develops, manages and promotes the infrastructure needed to support the flow of waterborne commerce. Ports act as catalysts for local and regional economic growth. Commercial port activities in 1994 provided employment for 1.6 million Americans, contributed $79 billion to the U.S. Gross Domestic Product (GDP), and personal income of $56 billion. Port activities also accounted for Federal taxes of $15.4 billion, and State and local tax revenues amounting to $5.9 billion.
Investments in our nation's maritime transportation system pay tremendous dividends to the country through lower prices for goods, increased trade, more and better-paying jobs, and a safer, cleaner environment. Ports themselves are investing heavily in their facilities, to the tune of over $1.3 billion each year, to accommodate projected increases in international trade and meet our customers' needs.
AAPA is pleased to support S. 1213 and H.R. 2547 and we urge the Subcommittee's approval of the legislation. We ask that the Subcommittee, in considering this legislation, keep in mind the interests of our nation's ports and the need to consider the use of the ocean and coastal resources for international trade and commerce as an integral part of the process to develop a comprehensive, long-range national ocean policy.
Page 79 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC These bills, which recognize the need for responsible and economically beneficial use and stewardship of ocean and coastal resources, would benefit from a more specific focus on maritime commerce. Our national ocean policy has been recently shaped by the recommendations of the 1966 Commission on Marine Science, Engineering and Resources, or ''Stratton'' Commission.
The Coastal Zone Management Act of 1972, which was an outgrowth of the Stratton Commission, specifically gives priority consideration to coastal-dependent uses and orderly processes for siting national defense, energy, fisheries development recreational, ports etc. It also sets a goal of providing assistance in the redevelopment of deteriorating urban waterfronts and ports, among other things. U.S. ports hope that the creation of a new Commission to examine ocean and coastal activities would include at least one port representative and continue to include maritime commerce as a priority in any recommendations.
Our nation uses the ocean for its fisheries, we mine the ocean for its vast natural resources, we enjoy the ocean for its recreational opportunities, and we use the oceans in trade lanes connecting world markets. In ports around the country there is a greater awareness than ever before about the importance of integrating our activities with interests in public access to the waterfront, recreational activities, and protection of our environment. Likewise, ports are being recognized as a valuable resource to their local and regional communities, contributing to the national and local areas' economic activity and national security, and also as an important partner in meeting environmental goals by providing cleaner alternatives in goods movement strategies. A thriving port translates into fewer goods traveling long distances to a market by truck, thereby improving air quality and reducing congestion and wear and tear on interstate and local roadways.
From the perspective of a port, the oceans are our lifeline; they provide for us the means of connecting with markets and economies so distant from our own. In the arena of international trade, ports provide the interface between the ocean and the land, the seller and the consumer. Ports provide the platform for the transfer of goods from ship to truck or rail, as well as a home to cruise ship, ferry, commercial fishing, and recreational users. Increasingly, trends in the maritime industry are making new demands on our ports and related landside infrastructure.
Page 80 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The worldwide economy is expanding. More and more nations are enjoying improving economic conditions and are entering the global marketplace. The result is the that the volume of goods being traded worldwide is growing at impressive rates and is expected to triple by 2020. While trade volumes are growing, competitive forces within the maritime trade are as great as ever. Shippers are seeking the cheapest and fastest way to get their products from production to the consumer. Shipping lines are responding to these customer demands by seeking the greatest efficiencies possible to cut costs and improve service. In some cases, at large ports the result has been that shipping lines are carrying far more cargo on fewer, though much larger, vessels. These larger vessels are expensive to operate, so it is in the shipping lines' interest to limit the amount of time a vessel is in port. The goal is to load or unload as much cargo as possible in a port and sail out of port as quickly as possible to maximize the value of the ship's operating costs. In other ports, this trend means more feeder vessels, barge activity, and lightering.
This development in world trade is having tremendous impacts on all aspects of ports. Larger vessels typically require deeper shipping channels and berths to accommodate the deeper drafts of these vessels. This raises questions, of course, about the physical and environmental consequences of channel deepenings, including habitat impacts, dredge disposal management, and operational safety. The volume of cargo being loaded onto or unloaded off of these large ships is staggering and requires greater upland storage areas for the cargo and more equipment to move the cargo to and from ships. The demands on the landside infrastructure requires difficult trade offs for a local community in terms of adjacent land uses, and even greater demand on local highway and rail systems.
These impacts are forcing ports to consider new investments in their water and landside facilities to meet the demands of the shipping lines and their customers, while being mindful of the need to make these investments in a way that is sensitive to the environmentproducing a net environmental benefit. It means that ports are dredging channels and berths deeper and looking at areas to expand their marine terminals by taking properties adjacent to existing facilities or creating new land using fill. We are challenged to do so with broad consideration for public concerns for environmental sensitivity, focusing on how to use strategies to reuse brownfield sites and enhance habitats. To more efficiently handle cargo on and off the marine terminals, new investments are being made in highways and highway connections, as well as improvements in on-dock rail connections and overall rail service to and from the port.
Page 81 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Identifying the resources to make these investments is a significant challenge to ports. More and more ports are looking for partners to share the costs of these investments. This includes seeking support from the Federal Government, as well as partnerships with the private sector, especially private terminal operators and vessel operators.
On the state and local levels, transportation planning should account for the demands the port's activities will have on the local infrastructure. Urban planners need to recognize that waterfront property is a finite resource and that maritime activities, unlike other commercial enterprises, can occur only along the water. Waterfront zoning and development plans must take this fact into consideration, just as we must also consider public access and recreational requirements.
Another problem facing ports is the increased use of the waterways. As mentioned above, many ports are seeing greater service by barge lines, feeder ships, and passenger and recreational vessels. This trend greatly increases the possibilities of accidents, which can cause injury to humans and the environment. We appreciate the leadership the Subcommittee has shown in addressing the important issue of navigation safety.
These are the types of issues that must be at the forefront of any national ocean policy, and we urge the Subcommittee to consider these important issues in its consideration of the ocean policy bills before it.
Thank you for your consideration of our views.
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