Ocean Policy Task Force holds final public meeting in Cleveland

>Story by PA3 Brandon Blackwell, photos by PA3 George Degener, Ninth Coast Guard District Public Affairs.

President Obama’s Interagency Ocean Policy Task Force held its sixth and final public hearing in Cleveland Oct. 29.

The Task Force, comprised of Chair Nancy Sutley, White House Council on Environmental Quality; Dr. Jane Lubchenco, Administrator, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration; Cameron Davis, Senior Advisor to the Administrator, Environmental Protection Agency; Rear Admiral Sally Brice O’Hara, Deputy Commandant for Operations, U.S. Coast Guard; and Captain Byron Black, Senior Maritime Safety and Security Advisor to the Secretary, Department of Transportation met at the Cleveland Marriot Downtown to gather public comments and suggestions regarding the Task Force’s development of new policy intended to ensure protection, maintenance, and restoration of the oceans, coasts and Great Lakes.

(Right: Rear Adm. Sally Brice-O’Hara fields questions from the press about the Interagency Ocean Policy Task Force’s role in developing recommendations to help protect the Great Lakes at a press briefing in Cleveland Oct. 29. U.S. Coast Guard photo)

The day’s events began at the Great Lakes Science Center with a presentation of the documentary ‘Mysteries of The Great Lakes,’ a film which paints the history of the largest fresh-water mass on earth and its environmental, cultural and economic impacts on the region.

Following the film’s screening, members of the Task Force held a press briefing and fielded questions from local media before moving to the Cleveland Marriot Downtown, where the Task Force listened to public concerns during a 3-hour session.

Each speaker was given a 2 ½ minute time limit to address the Task Force. Comments ranged from such topics as invasive species and recreational fishing to advanced energies and environmental protection.

(Left: Members of the public were afforded the opportunity to address members of the Interagency Ocean Policy Task Force about regional concerns at a public meeting in Cleveland Oct. 29. U.S. Coast Guard photo)

The Task Force, which held six public hearings around the country, will now compile the comments submitted and present a report of their findings and policy recommendations to the President.

The Interagency Ocean Policy Task Force was chartered to create new ocean, coastal and Great Lakes policy that protects, maintains and restores these valuable resources. For more information or to submit a comment to the Task Force, visit the OPTF official website.

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