THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Vice President
VICE PRESIDENT GORE ANNOUNCES NEW EFFORTS TO PROTECT OUR OCEANS Participates in National Ocean Conference, Hosts Discussion With Conference Panels
Washington, DC -- Vice President Gore announced today four new efforts to chart a sustainable future for the nation's oceans before participating in the Administration's National Ocean Conference.
"In the 21st century, the world will look increasingly to the oceans for food, fuel, new medicines, and other resources," Vice President Gore said. "Already, we see troubling signs that marine resources are over-stressed. We must be careful stewards and ensure the oceans are protected for all time."
Upon arrival in Monterey, the Vice President toured the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute's (MBARI) vessel, viewed a demonstration of its remotely operated vehicle, and announced the following efforts to protect the nation's oceans:
Exploration: Provide an additional $4 million a year in 2000, 2001, 2002 to expand two shallow-water observatories (Leo in New Jersey, Aquarius in Florida); develop two new deep-ocean observatories (in San Juan de Fuca Ridge and the Gulf of Mexico); develop two new submersible vehicles that can go deeper than any before (this will be done in partnership with others); contribute $250,000 a year to a partnership with National Geographic Society and the Goldman Foundation to map and explore biodiversity in the 12 national marine sanctuaries; and assess the economic value of U.S. marine resources. This initiative also calls for strengthening marine protected areas by completing an inventory of marine sanctuaries and revising sanctuary management plans by 2002.
Declassification of Military Data and Technology: As a result of the Environmental Task Force that Vice President Gore originated while serving in the Senate, the Navy will release Arctic under-ice data collected by submarines that will enhance our understanding of the climate system. The Navy also will work with the private sector to release previously classified data once used to hunt submarines. These data can be used to track whale migrations, predict tsunamis, detect illegal fishing, and support climate change research. Over the next five years, the Defense Department will complete and release to the public computer-based nautical charts for most international waters.
Climate Change: Provide an additional $4 million a year over three years to complete an ocean monitoring system by 2002. This system will complement satellite measurements and provide a better understanding of the relationship between oceans and long-term climate change and predict regional impacts of climate change.
Protecting Our Coastal Waters: As part of the President's Clean Water Action plan: EPA will launch a web site to inform the public of beach closings and advisories; Federal agencies will work with states to research, predict, and control toxic algae blooms; and Federal agencies will help states develop plans to reduce polluted runoff to coastal waters. The President will call on Congress to fully fund the five-year, $2.3 billion Clean Water Action Plan.
Also Thursday, the Vice President joined the National Ocean Conference and received a report from panel participants. The conference panels included: Oceans and Commerce; Oceans and Global Security; Ocean Environment and Health; and Ocean, Exploration, Education and Research. In addition, the Vice President led a discussion with all four panels.