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The National Marine Sanctuary System: The Once and Future Promise of Comprehensive Ocean Governance

November 2014

Citation: 44 ELR 10932

Issue: 11

Author: Jason Patlis, Donald Baur, Tom Lindley, Alan Murphy, and Priscilla Hampton

Despite repeated recommendations for improved ocean governance, little has happened legislatively to update federal ocean protection. But administratively, NOAA has advanced a number of rulemakings to expand the size of existing national marine sanctuaries, and has finalized a rulemaking to allow the consideration of new designations of national marine sanctuaries. This Article analyzes the legal underpinnings of the centerpiece of the National Marine Sanctuaries Act and compares it to other federal and state legal authorities that govern ocean ecosystems and resources. The Article concludes that the new regulation creates an open-sourced, grassroots approach to identifying special marine places that are important to local communities nationwide.

Jason Patlis is President and CEO of the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation. Donald Baur, Priscilla Hampton, Tom Lindley, and Alan Murphy are attorneys with the Environment, Energy, and Resources practice at Perkins Coie LLP in the Washington, D.C., Portland, Oregon, and San Francisco, California, offices.

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