Zoning the Oceans

Researchers at Duke University are advising Congress to develop zoning rules for the oceans that will guide where offshore energy generation can and should occur.
April 14, 2009, 8am PDT | Nate Berg
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"Their paper, published today in Science, says federal policymakers must extend public-trust doctrine used for settling legal disputes on land to the sea. The doctrine could provide an effective and ethical answer to questions about how to regulate offshore areas for oil and gas drilling and wave and wind development while protecting fisheries and marine habitat, the researchers write."

"At issue is how to address demands for energy development on the outer continental shelf."

"Some lawmakers have proposed offshore zoning, or "marine spatial planning." Several advocacy groups are working to put marine zoning language that would mandate an ecosystem-based management approach into an energy bill this year."

"But the authors of the new report say U.S. ocean governance cannot easily accommodate ecosystem management. To do so, they say, Congress should employ the public trust doctrine, which obliges the government to manage natural resources in the best interest of its citizens."

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Published on Saturday, April 11, 2009 in The New York Times
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