MA Governor Signs Historic Ocean Management Bill

Brian Barth Brian Barth

Colin Durrant, CLF Director of Communications

Boston, MA (May 28, 2008) – Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick today signed into law a landmark ocean management act to balance commercial and recreational use with wildlife protection. The new law will lead to a first-in-the-nation ocean management plan to guide all development activity, including renewable energy, in state ocean waters.

The Mass Ocean Campaign, a coalition of over fifty local, regional and national environmental and civic groups that helped write the new law applauded Governor Patrick, Senate President Therese Murray, and House Speaker Sal DiMasi for their leadership in creating a national model for ocean governance. The Mass Ocean Campaign was led by the Conservation Law Foundation, Massachusetts Audubon Society and Ocean Conservancy.

The new ocean management plan, which must be completed by Dec. 31, 2009, will be developed by a 17-member ocean management commission, including state agency representatives, state legislators, municipal officials, and environmental, fishing, and marine industry stakeholders. A science advisory board will also work on the plan’s creation. Under the new law, the Secretary of the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs will retain all authority for managing and coordinating ocean activity under the management plan.

The bill was the result of three years of negotiation and collaboration between the lead Senate sponsors Senate President Therese Murray, Senator Robert O’Leary and Senator Bruce Tarr, House Chairman of the Joint Committee on Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture Representative Frank Smizik, environmental groups, fishing organizations and other ocean users.

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The Conservation Law Foundation works to solve the environmental problems that threaten the people, natural resources and communities of New England. CLF’s advocates use law, economics and science to design and implement strategies that conserve natural resources, protect public health, and promote vital communities in our region. Founded in 1966, CLF is a nonprofit, member-supported organization. It has offices in Boston, Massachusetts; Concord, New Hampshire; Providence, Rhode Island; Montpelier, Vermont; and Brunswick, Maine.

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