Government ocean commission calls for sweeping reforms

The U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy, concluding two and a half years of studying oceans, coastal areas, and the Great Lakes, delivered its final report to the political types in Congress and the White House yesterday, where it will be waved around for a day or two and then quickly forgotten. We kid! Actually, this may be a rare case where lawmakers on both sides of the aisle are fired up to do some good. Members of both parties in Congress and enviro groups came out in support of the commission’s recommendations, and President Bush even saw fit to make sympathetic, if vague and studiously noncommittal, comments. Perhaps the report is being taken seriously because it paints such a grim picture of oceans ravaged by pollution and overfishing. Said James Watkins, chair of the commission, “The oceans are saying, ‘We’ve had it, human beings. Give us a break.’ And that’s what we are trying to do.” The report has 212 specific recommendations aimed at saving our beleaguered oceans. Bush has 90 days to respond to the report; enviros aren’t expecting much.