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Clinton signing ocean ecology bill
Monday, August 7, 2000
By Associated Press

President Clinton is signing bipartisan legislation today to establish a national advisory board on the balance between ocean ecology and economics.

Clinton and Hillary Rodham Clinton were closing their short, working vacation in Massachusetts with a bill-signing ceremony today at a Coast Guard station on the shores of Martha's Vineyard.

The Clinton family has spent three days on the resort island, raising money for Mrs. Clinton's Senate race in New York and partying with wealthy patrons. Clinton also managed a round of golf and an afternoon at a secluded beach.

With the sea and the lighthouse at West Chop for backdrop, Clinton was also expected to prod Congress to approve his budget requests for coastal and ocean protection.

The new commission is charged with a broad study of federal ocean policy, with a reports to Congress and the White House due 18 months after the group begins work.

The 16-member commission will not begin its work until the day Clinton leaves office in January. He will appoint the membership through a complicated formula that gives him four unrestricted appointees, and his pick of 12 others from a list approved by Congress.

The setup is intended to ensure representation for fishing, mining and other industries that depend on the ocean. The board is also supposed to include state and local government officials, environmentalists, scientists and academics.

The commission grew out of a conference Clinton attended two years ago with Vice President Al Gore, in Monterey, Calif. There, the administration pledged to find compromises among the often competing goals of marine businesses and conservationists.

Commissioners will hold public hearings in coastal regions, including Alaska.