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HONOLULU, HI - Through the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) National Marine Sanctuary Program (NMSP) and the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) today expanded cooperative efforts to promote and increase energy efficiency at the country's national marine sanctuaries.  DOE will facilitate three initial energy audits at NMSP facilities in Maui, Hawaii, Key West, Florida; and Scituate, Massachusetts, to identify potential energy-saving opportunities that NMSP can implement throughout the sanctuary system.  The MOU details work NOAA and DOE will collaborate on, including identifying energy-saving measures, facilitating energy audits, and implementing clean, cutting-edge technologies that can save money and energy.

The National Marine Sanctuary System includes 13 national marine sanctuaries and one marine national monument, with more than 30 facilities around the country and in American Samoa.  NMSP Director Daniel J. Basta and DOE Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Andy Karsner signed the MOU at the Maunalua Bay Beach Park, overlooking a portion of the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary.

"This agreement supports the National Marine Sanctuary Program's Blue Seas, Green Communities initiative, contributing to the environmental quality of sanctuary communities for all Americans," Basta said. "It will benefit agencies, helping improve energy efficiency at sanctuary facilities and strengthening DOE's energy efficiency outreach efforts."

"As the largest energy consumer in the United States, the federal government has both the opportunity and responsibility to lead by example with smart energy management.  We are eager for this partnership to take shape so we can seize this opportunity to immediately yield substantive results," Assistant Secretary Karsner said.  "By engaging the National Marine Sanctuaries Program, we are not only meeting President Bush's goal to protect some of our nation's most treasured natural resources, but we are identifying energy saving opportunities and saving taxpayer's money."

Under the MOU, NMSP will seek input from DOE to identify energy-saving activities at the sanctuary sites and the NMSP headquarters and implement activities to reduce energy consumption. The program will continue its Blue Seas, Green Communities greening initiative at sanctuary sites and headquarters and work with Sanctuary Advisory Councils to enhance DOE outreach efforts in sanctuary site communities.  NOAA NMSP's Blue Seas, Green Communities initiative involves sanctuary sites program-wide and their advisory councils.  It is a plan to make sanctuary facilities more energy-efficient, and to initiate, facilitate or enhance local community projects that contribute to the greening of the community and protection of sanctuary resources.

Building on Section 111 of the Energy Policy Act of 2005, which requires enhancing energy efficiency in management of federal lands - specifically including the National Marine Sanctuaries System, this MOU furthers President Bush's Advanced Energy Initiative, which aims to reduce the nation's reliance on foreign oil and increase our nation's energy security through the greater use of clean, renewable energy.

NOAA is dedicated to enhancing economic security and national safety through the prediction and research of weather and climate-related events and information service delivery for transportation, and by providing environmental stewardship of our nation's coastal and marine resources. Through the emerging Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS), NOAA is working with its federal partners, more than 70 countries and the European Commission to develop a global monitoring network that is as integrated as the planet it observes, predicts and protects.

The Department of Energy's overarching mission is to advance the national, economic, and energy security of the United States; to promote scientific and technological innovation in support of that mission; and to ensure the environmental cleanup of the national nuclear weapons complex.  DOE's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy plays an important role in the overall mission by researching, developing and deploying clean, cutting-edge technologies such as biomass and biofuels, solar power, wind power, advanced vehicles, and hydrogen fuel cells to fundamentally change the way the U.S. powers its homes, businesses and vehicles.

Read more about the National Marine Sanctuary System and see a list of of of the Marine Sites.

To learn more about NMSP, visit the NOAA website.

Media contact(s):

Julie Ruggiero, (202) 586-4940