Oceans & Coastal Resources:
A Briefing Book
Congressional Research Service Report 97-588 ENR
Redistributed as a service of the National Library for the Environment


May 30, 1997

The United States and the international community have important interests in ocean and coastal resources involving such issues as pollution of the resource base, food from the sea, energy and mineral development, and marine transportation. Equally important, an understanding of oceanic processes and air-sea exchange is vital to scientific estimates of the probability, timing, and magnitude of global warming. A major concern is the impact increasing population, development, and other human activity will have on the oceans and coastal environments, and what actions should be taken to better understand, define, and prevent unacceptable degradation.

The Congressional Research Service prepared this Oceans and Coastal Resources Briefing Book for use by members of the congressional community with interests in oceans and coastal resources issues. The book contains short papers on selected ocean and coastal resource issues. Each paper contains an issue definition, background and analysis, status of the issue, continuing concerns, and references.

The papers are arranged under major subject headings:

One appendix to this report contains the full text of Agenda 21, Chapter 17, of the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in June 1992. It outlines recommendations in 7 program areas dealing with the protection and sustainable development of the marine and coastal environment and its resources. Other appendices include a copy of the Oceans and Coastal Resources section of the United States of America National Report prepared by the executive branch for UNCED; and a selected listing of oceans and coastal resources statutes.

Because of the competing uses of oceans and coastal resources, Congress and the public are likely to give increasing attention to these and other issues affecting these resources in the future.


Alfred R. Greenwood

Contributing Authors

Geoffrey S. Becker
Eugene H. Buck
Alfred R. Greenwood
Lawrence Kumins
Martin R. Lee
David Whiteman
Jeffrey A. Zinn

Environment and Natural Resources Policy Division

Marjorie Ann Browne
Foreign Affairs and National Defense Division

John Justus
James E. Mielke

Science Policy Research Division

Carol D. Canada

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