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March, 2009
HR21 - Big Ocean Bill Moving in Congress

A major piece of ocean legislation is moving through the 111th Congress and could get strong support after languishing in the last Congress.

The Ocean Conservation, Education And National Strategy for the 21st Century Act (H.R. 21), now simply dubbed "Oceans 21," had its first hearing in the House June 18. The bill, sponsored by Rep. Sam Farr (D-CA), is based on policy recommendations put forth by the Pew Oceans Commission in 2003 and the U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy the following year.

The bill would, among other things, establish a national ocean policy, codify the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) as an independent federal agency, establish regional ocean governance models and create an ocean advisor to the president.