The main goal of the newly-formed Mid-Atlantic Regional Council on the Ocean will be to advocate for greater state influence with the federal government on the management of offshore waters.
"Ensuring the health of our ocean ecosystems and the resources they provide is paramount to Mid-Atlantic oceanfront states like New Jersey. Any threat to these natural resources brings economic consequences that threaten jobs, local economies, and our economic well being. New Jersey is committed to working with our Mid-Atlantic partners to provide adequate safeguards and formulate a shared vision for the region's future," said Corzine at the meeting.
New Jersey has 127 miles of Atlantic Ocean coastline and an additional 83 miles of shore along the Raritan and Delaware Bays.
Oddly enough, part of the agreement has the states collaborating on improving energy security and independence in the region through development of offshore renewable energy. Though that sounds anti-ocean protection, the plan is not for drilling but using the Outer Continental Shelf as a wind energy resource.
The agreement also has more obvious environmental aspects including increased protection of offshore habitats, climate change and sea level rise study, attempts to increase federal support for water quality infrastructure improvements and the reduction of marine debris.
The meeting included Corzine, NY Gov. David A. Paterson, representatives of the governors of Delaware, Maryland and Virginia, White House Council on Environmental Quality Chairwoman Nancy Sutley, National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration Administrator Dr. Jane Lubchenco and actor/activist Sam Waterston.