Obama Administration’s National Ocean Council Names State, Local and Tribal Representatives to Coordinating Body



February 23, 2011


Obama Administration's National Ocean Council Names State, Local and Tribal Representatives to Coordinating Body

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Recognizing that successful ocean stewardship requires inter-governmental collaboration, the Obama Administration's National Ocean Council today announced the inaugural members of the Governance Coordinating Committee, a group of state, local and tribal representatives that will serve as a key coordinating body on ocean policy issues.


President Obama signed an Executive Order in July, 2010, establishing the Nation's first comprehensive, integrated National Policy for the Stewardship of the Ocean, our Coasts, and Great Lakes.  America's oceans and coastal regions support tens of millions of jobs and contribute trillions of dollars a year to the national economy.  The National Ocean Policy identifies priority areas to focus our Nation's stewardship efforts, including a collaborative, regionally based planning process to ensure healthy ocean, coastal and Great Lakes resources for the many communities and economies that rely on and enjoy them.

The Executive Order created the Cabinet-level National Ocean Council to coordinate across the Federal Government on ocean policy, and directed the establishment of the inter-governmental Governance Coordinating Committee (GCC).  The 18-member GCC will coordinate with the National Ocean Council on inter-jurisdictional ocean policy issues.  GCC members were selected from a pool of nominees submitted by state governors and tribal and local officials. They consist of three at-large tribal representatives, one state representative from each of nine regional planning areas, one state legislative representative, two a-large representatives from inland states, and three local government officials from coastal states.

"The National Ocean Policy helps us to manage the significant and often competing demands on the ocean to ensure these resources can continue to fuel our communities and economies in the long term," said Nancy Sutley, Chair of the White House Council on Environmental Quality and Co-chair of the National Ocean Council.  "Working closely with the state, local and tribal representatives on the Governance Coordinating Committee is vital to achieving the goal of healthy oceans, coasts and Great Lakes that work for American communities."

"I welcome the inaugural members of the Governance Coordinating Committee and thank them for their willingness to serve in this important capacity," said John P. Holdren, Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and Co-chair of the National Ocean Council.  "The range of skills and experiences these new members represent will be crucial to ensuring the success of the National Ocean Policy."

The National Ocean Policy establishes a cooperative planning process among Federal, state, tribal, and local authorities, and solicits extensive input from the public and stakeholders for approaches that are tailored to the unique needs of each region.  It is designed to foster communication among all levels of government, save taxpayer dollars by eliminating waste, and reduce the conflict and inefficiency resulting from implementation of a maze of nearly 100 different laws, policies and regulations affecting the oceans. 

The members being announced today are:

Brian Baird, California (West Coast Region)
Assistant Secretary for Ocean and Coastal Policy, California Natural Resources Agency

Kathleen Leyden, Maine (Northeast Region)
Director of Maine's Coastal Zone Management Program

David Naftzger, Illinois (Great Lakes Region)
Executive Director, Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Basin Water Resources Council

Lelei Peau, American Samoa (Pacific Islands Region)
Deputy Director, Department of Commerce for the American Samoa Government

Mark Robbins, Alaska (Alaska Region)
Associate Director, Office of the Governor

Paige Rothenberger, U.S. Virgin Islands (Caribbean Region)
Coral Reef Initiative Coordinator, USVI Dept. of Planning & Natural Resources

George Stafford, New York (Mid-Atlantic Region)
Deputy Secretary of State

Bill Walker, Mississippi (Gulf of Mexico Region)
Chair of the Gulf of Mexico Alliance Management Team and Executive Director of the MS Department of Marine Resources

Steve Crawford, Maine (Tribal Representative)
Environmental Director, Passamaquoddy Tribe of Pleasant Point, ME

Jacque Hostler, California (Tribal Representative)
Chief Executive Officer and Director of the Transportation and Land-Use Department, Cher-Ae Heights Indian Community of the Trinidad Rancheria

Micah McCarty, Washington State (Tribal Representative)
Tribal Chairman & Marine Policy & Fisheries Advisor, Makah Tribal Council

Kristin Jacobs, Florida (Local Government Representative)
County Commissioner - District 2, Broward County, Florida

Geraldine Knatz, California (Local Government Representative)
Executive Director, Port of Los Angeles

Joan Murphy, Illinois (Local Government Representative)
Cook County Commissioner, IL, 6th District

Kevin Ranker, Washington State (State Legislative Representative)
Washington State Senator

Additional members will be announced shortly.  For more information about the GCC and the National Ocean Policy, please visit: www.whitehouse.gov/oceans.