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Ranker: Challenges faced during Puget Sound recovery can transform into lessons for rest of the country
State Sen. Kevin Ranker, D-Anacortes, testified Sept. 23 at the U.S. Interagency Ocean Policy Task Force hearing in the White House Conference Center.
Ranker participated at the invitation of the White House Council for Environmental Quality.
In his testimony Ranker, who is also a senior fellow at The Ocean Foundation, said the challenges faced during the Puget Sound recovery can transform into lessons for the rest of the country as national ocean policy moves forward. He also relayed unified comments from 178 legislators from 30 coastal states.
“Our oceans, our coasts, and the Great Lakes are a vital source of jobs, food, recreation, transportation, and energy resources in the United States,” Ranker said. “It is important that the Task Force be aware of the efforts of Washington state as they develop their recommendations for the president on national ocean policy.”
The Task Force, established by President Obama earlier this year, is slated to recommend a unifying framework under a clear national policy, including a comprehensive, ecosystem-based strategy for the long term conservation and use of our resources.
“Washington state’s coast and marine waters face an era of unprecedented activity,” Ranker said.
“From proposed wave and tidal energy development, diverse recreational uses, shipping and tanker superhighways, to commercial fishing and aquaculture facilities, competition for what once seemed like limitless space is increasing pressures on our fragile marine ecosystems.
“Global climate change, energy production, and the health of marine ecosystems are inextricably linked. I urge the committee to make these connections for the Administration, the public, as well as play a key role in devising economically and environmentally sound solutions for the country and for Washington state.”
Ranker was also invited to testify at Obama’s West Coast Ocean Policy Task Force meeting in San Francisco. This was one of only two opportunities on the West Coast for input; the other was Alaska.