The White House has announced the implementation of the Northeast Ocean Plan, which is promoted as a collaborative effort by the federal government, private sector and environmental entities to share ocean-related data in the New England region.
The new plan includes a data portal that will provide information on the oceanic ecosystem and the commercial and scientific activities occurring in the waters off New England.
According to a White House statement attributed to Christy Goldfuss and John P. Holdren, the co-chairs of the National Ocean Council, the portal will “allow scientists, stakeholders and the public to easily obtain and use information about the marine environment and engage in decision-making processes such as National Environmental Policy Act review by identifying who may be affected by proposed activities or where additional information is needed.”
The 203-page Northeast Ocean Plan stated a focus on a “comprehensive, ecosystem-based approach (that considers) the ‘big picture’ of ecological, economic, cultural, and other needs in our region.” It is also being positioned as guaranteeing a new era of “transparent, efficient government decision-making” that will “reduce duplication and inefficiency in decision-making and coordinate among agencies and governments based on a common vision, common information sources and clear decision-making processes.”
A similar plan for the Mid-Atlantic region was also announced, and additional plans are scheduled for the oceanic territories in the Gulf of Mexico and the Pacific.