Eos, Transactions American Geophysical Union

Draft U.S. ocean policy plan precedes proposal to move NOAA to Interior department



The Obama administration's ambitious plan to protect oceans was released on 12 January, just 1 day prior to the administration's apparently unrelated announcement of a proposed governmental reorganization that would move the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) from the Department of Commerce to the Department of the Interior. The proposed NOAA move is part of a larger administration proposal to consolidate six federal agencies that are focused on business and trade into one department. The action is contingent upon congressional approval. The proposal to move NOAA to the Interior department has prompted a variety of reactions, with some considering it common sense to group agencies dealing with natural resources in the same department. Others have charged that the proposed move could blunt NOAA's leading role in protecting oceans, among other concerns.