President Barack Obama responded to appeals from Alaska Native villages and gave them more of a say in the federal management of marine resources of the Bering Sea. Obama signed an executive order Friday to create a Northern Bering Sea Climate Resilience Area that will focus “locally tailored” protections on marine resources. The newly created resilience area covers 112,300 square miles and stretches from north of the Bering Strait to north of Bristol Bay. The order requires more focused federal consultation with Alaska tribes and 39 communities that line the west coast of Alaska, along with state officials. The area supports what may be the world’s largest annual marine mammal migration of bowhead and beluga whales, Pacific walrus, ice seals and migratory birds.
Today, the National Ocean Council (NOC) finalized the Nation’s first ocean plans, taking a historic step toward fulfilling President Obama’s commitment to healthy ocean ecosystems and a strong, sustainable marine economy. The two regional plans, the Northeast Ocean Plan and the Mid-Atlantic Ocean Action Plan, promote the use of integrated ocean data and best practices for informed and efficient management of the Nation’s shared marine resources. This approach is designed to work across all levels of government and to advance economic, environmental, and cultural priorities within each region. In addition to years of historic collaboration among states, tribes, Federal agencies, and Fishery Management Councils, the Plans are a result of extensive participation and input from marine stakeholders representing fishing, recreation, energy, transportation, telecommunications, and many other interests.
President-elect Trump has announced that he will nominate Mr. Wilbur Ross, Jr. who served as an economic policy advisor to the president-elect during the campaign, as the Secretary of Commerce. Mr. Todd Ricketts, Chicago Cubs co-owner and businessman, has been tapped as deputy secretary for the DOC.
President-elect Donald Trump has nominated Todd Ricketts — brother of Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts and a member of the team’s board of directors — as deputy commerce secretary. “The incredible job he and the Ricketts family did in the purchase and turnaround of the Chicago Cubs — one perfect step after another, leading to the World Championship, is what I want representing our people,” Trump said in a statement on Wednesday. “I am very proud to have him on our team.”
Donald Trump will name Wilbur Ross Jr. as commerce secretary, a transition official said Tuesday, selecting a fellow businessman whose name rings out in the Rust Belt. In 2001, with the steel industry in crisis and more than 30 steelmakers in bankruptcy, Mr. Ross swooped in and bought key assets, such as LTV Corp., Bethlehem Steel and Weirton Steel Corp. By cutting jobs and legacy costs, as well as negotiating new deals with unions, he was able to put mills back on their feet, before selling them at a profit.
The White House science office hasn’t been very productive under President Barack Obama, says the chairman of a key congressional research spending panel. And Representative John Culberson (R–TX) says he’d like to see it downsized.
The leaders of 29 science organizations are urging President-elect Donald Trump to meet with them and quickly appoint a science adviser. Signers of the new Trump letter include most major science groups, including the American Association for the Advancement of Science and American Geophysical Union. Appointment of an adviser would help the president-elect analyze effective ways to use science and technology to address national challenges, the leaders said.
The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) released a memorandum last week titled “Promoting Efficient Spending to Support Agency Operations.,” The document builds on years-long efforts to save taxpayer dollars by improving agency operations and efficiency. Section Two of the memo focuses on oversight of expenses related to federally-sponsored and-hosted conferences, which “play an important role in the federal government” through improved collaboration and knowledge sharing.
While this year’s United Nations Marrakech Climate Change Conference was taking place in Morocco, strategic planning to combat climate change was also happening across the pond in the U.S. On November 16, the outgoing administration released the “United States Mid-Century Strategy For Deep Decarbonization.” Developed with input from stakeholders and in collaboration with Canada, Mexico, and other nations developing similar strategies, this plan explains potential pathways to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by at least eighty percent by 2050.
A teacher in Boise checks his weather app and packs an umbrella while a Miami businesswoman decides to work from home because the local news announces her usual route to work is flooded. What do these two have in common? The information they rely on for their daily activities depends on observational data from the ocean. Some ocean observations provide real-time results, but others must be continuously collected for years before significant patterns and changes can be detected and analyzed. Due to the vital importance of observing systems to the benefit of our nation’s economy, national security, and scientific enterprise, the National Academy of Science’s Ocean Studies Board ad hoc observations committee held a two-day workshop to hear expert opinions on ocean observation systems as they draft a report prioritizing imperative ocean variables for climate research.