CHARLESTON, South Carolina, October 27, 2009 (ENS) – State government representatives from the Southeast coastal region have formed a partnership with the federal agency responsible for oceans to better manage and protect ocean and coastal resources, ensure regional economic sustainability, and respond to disasters such as hurricanes.

Representatives from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, NOAA, and the states of North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and Florida announced their new partnership during the annual meeting of the Coastal States Organization last week in Charleston.

The alliance was signed by North Carolina Governor Bev Perdue, South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford, Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue and Florida Governor Charlie Crist.

All of the governors welcomed the agreement as an example of the ability to discuss and act regionally on common issues paramount to the South’s economic vitality and quality of life.

The Governors’ South Atlantic Alliance will leverage resources from each state and supporting partners to protect and maintain healthy coastal ecosystems, keep waterfronts working, enhance clean ocean and coastal waters and help make communities more resilient to natural disasters.

The four states previously met with the White House Council on Environmental Quality to obtain support from NOAA and other federal agencies including the U.S. Geological Survey and the U.S. EPA.

Jane Lubchenco, PhD, under secretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and NOAA administrator, welcomed the new partnership as a forum for consideration of issues crucial to the region’s economic vitality and quality of life.

“We have great challenges in making America’s oceans and coasts safe, healthy and productive,” said Lubchenco. “NOAA is uniquely positioned to help the South Atlantic states address region-specific priorities through the Alliance. Our coasts and oceans are vital to the nation’s economic, ecological, and security well-being.”

The Alliance will be a state-led partnership leveraging resources from the public and private sectors, business and industry communities, local governments, federal agencies, academic institutions, and nongovernmental organizations to address region-wide priorities.

Copyright Environment News Service (ENS) 2009. All rights reserved.