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Mid-Atlantic Governors to Sign Landmark Agreement to Protect Ocean

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On Thursday, five Mid-Atlantic Governors will enter a landmark agreement committing to improving the health of the Atlantic Ocean. The agreement will establish the Governors' Mid-Atlantic Regional Council on Oceans (MARCO) for New York, New Jersey, Maryland, Delaware and Virginia. You will be able to watch the signing ceremony live at noon tomorrow from New York City.

This brand-new entity will work together to tackle a wide range of ocean issues -- from developing properly sited offshore renewable energy and increasing protection of important offshore habitats, to addressing climate change and sea level rise, and working to increase federal support for water quality infrastructure improvements.

In addition to the formal signing ceremony in New York City tomorrow, the Governors and their staff plan on getting right to work. Ocean experts -- including NRDC -- will be on hand to brief participants on ocean protection issues and to make recommendations for moving forward. I look forward to addressing habitat issues with state representatives that afternoon.

For years, ocean advocates like NRDC have called for this kind of regional coordination and cooperation to protect our seas. Our oceans don't recognize borders. That's why it's so significant that these Governors will agree to reach across state lines to protect them. This kind of coordination is good news for all of the jobs, state revenue and seafood that depend on a healthy Atlantic Ocean.

And since we know there is enormous potential for developing offshore renewable energy sources -- especially wind power -- off the East Coast, it will be critical for the Governors to work together to make sure it's appropriately sited to protect vulnerable ocean areas, and developed right the first time. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar has said that wind power can replace 3,000 coal plants and there is great opportunity for developing it in the Atlantic.

There is an increasing amount of pressure on our seas -- from energy development, to fishing, shipping and climate change. But this new council will help manage these stresses, and better protect the entire Mid-Atlantic region.

Want to see more action toward healthy oceans nationwide? Tell your representatives in Congress you want a national Healthy Oceans Act here.

This post originally appeared on NRDC's blog.

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