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Alternate Framework for the US Commission on Ocean Policy

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Publication Date: April 2004

Publisher(s): Reason Foundation

Author(s): Michael De Alessi

Topic: Environment (Ocean and ocean resources)

Type: Brief


The state of the oceans in the United States and around the world is in sore need of attention. The current U.S. Oceans Commission is an important and timely acknowledgment of the environmental, commercial, and recreational importance of the oceans to the United States. Regulatory policy, bureaucracy, and research budgets-- the core of the Commission's recommendations--do not address the tragedy of the commons, and therefore are doomed to achieve expensive, piecemeal success at best. Interestingly, one real marine management success story is the federal management of offshore oil and gas exploration and development. This program, managed by the Minerals Management Service (MMS), is based on a system of offshore leasing. In other words, the program is based on a clear definition of property rights. If the Commission were really looking for a comprehensive framework to apply, this is where it should start.