A high-level commission appointed by President Bush recently recommended comprehensive reform of the way the United States governs its oceans. Earlier this year, a distinguished private commission also recommended comprehensive reform. To what extent do these recommendations overlap? In a nation divided on many issues, is there an emerging consensus on oceans issues such as coastal development, fisheries management and improving coordination among the many federal agencies responsible for oceans governance?
On December 20, the Bush administration provided its official response to the work of the federal commission. Major new oceans legislation is expected in Congress in 2005. In this briefing, a founder and co-chair of the House Oceans Caucus delivered remarks on oceans legislation in the coming Congress. The chairmen of the two leading oceans commissions then delivered remarks on their work and took questions together on the future of U.S. oceans policy.