Obama official neutral on naming US coastal waters after Reagan

A panel of the House Natural Resources Committee gathered Monday to consider the legislation, which would designate the EEZ as the “Ronald Wilson Reagan Exclusive Economic Zone of the United States.”

The late Reagan, a Californian like Issa, established the EEZ with a 1983 presidential proclamation that declared the nation’s sovereign rights – including rights to the seabed and subsoil – for exploring, exploiting and conserving offshore resources, including energy.

Under the proposal, references to the EEZ in U.S. laws, regulations, maps and other documents would carry Reagan’s name.

Issa touted the bill in his testimony prepared for the subcommittee on Fisheries, Wildlife, Oceans and Insular Affairs.

“President Reagan appreciated that America is blessed with an abundance of natural resources and understood that to remain competitive and to promote strong economic growth, we need to effectively develop and responsibly make use of our natural wealth,” Issa said in a prepared statement.

Issa, who is chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, did not attend the hearing.

Issa has collected seven GOP co-sponsors for the bill. He has introduced the bill multiple times in past sessions of Congress, and said he’s hopeful the bill will be brought to the floor and signed into law.

Babauta noted that the U.S. has the largest EEZ in the world, spanning more than 13,000 miles of coastline and containing 3.4 million square nautical miles of ocean.

It’s larger than the combined land area of all 50 states, his testimony states. The EEZ includes waters off U.S. states, and adjacent other areas such as Puerto Rico and the Northern Mariana Islands.