Gov. Deval Patrick signed the Ocean’s Management bill only moments ago in a ceremony held at the New England Aquarium.
State Sen. Robert O’Leary, D-Barnstable, principle architect of the bill, which establishes a management plan for territorial waters and ensures a public voice in future ocean development projects, was among those who spoke.
State Senate President Therese Murray, who also attended the ceremony, described the bill as “landmark legislation for the management of our ocean waters.“
She congratulated O’Leary and his colleagues “for initiating this proposal and seeing it through the Legislative process.”
The first of its kind in the nation, this bill sets specific guidelines for development projects in state waters and “provides safeguards for the health and preservation of our ocean. For so long, we have had well-established laws for the use of our land, and now we will have the necessary framework and process in place for the responsible development and protection of one of the Commonwealth’s greatest assets – our ocean,” Murray said.
The act also opens up most of the state’s ocean sanctuaries to renewable energy development, including Boston developer Jay Cashman’s proposal for a wind farm in Buzzards Bay.
The renewable energy projects would have to comply with the terms of the ocean management plan, to be written by Dec. 31, 2009, and approved by the state secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs.
The Cape Cod Ocean Sanctuary, which is off the Cape Cod National Seashore, would remain off-limits to any type of development.
Read more in tomorrow’s Cape Cod Times
By Karen Jeffrey
28 May 2008
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