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Originally published September 18, 2006 at 12:00 AM | Page modified September 18, 2006 at 3:31 PM

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Western states join in effort to improve Pacific Ocean health

The announcement said the governors of Oregon, Washington and California would, among other things, send a joint message to Congress within six months opposing oil and gas leasing, development or exploration off the coasts.

The Associated Press

PORTLAND — The governors of Oregon, Washington and California announced an agreement today to work together to improve Pacific Ocean health, saying "oceans should be managed on an ecosystem level."

"Polluted waters, declining populations of fish and other marine life, degraded nearshore habitats, risks of severe storms and tsunamis and impacts related to climate change" were among the threats cited by the governors of the three ocean-dependant states.

The announcement at the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry said the governors would, among other things, send a joint message to Congress within six months opposing oil and gas leasing, development or exploration off the coasts.

The agreement said goals include ensuring clean coastal waters and beaches, protecting healthy ocean and coastal habitats, expanding scientific research, monitoring and fostering sustainable economic development "throughout our diverse coastal communities," and expanding ocean and coastal research.

It said the governors would support developing a coastal regional research plan with the National Sea Grant Office and other scholars, and would work with universities to seek funding and technical aid to support such programs in ocean observation and sea floor and habitat mapping.

It said the three governors would direct their staffs to work through the fall to get further recommendations and increase regional cooperation.

Gov. Ted Kulongoski of Oregon and Christine Gregoire of Washington were to attend the ceremony, with Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger of California taking part via satellite link.

The announcement comes as scientists are studying a "dead zone" off the central Oregon coast, where oxygen deprivation has killed massive quantities of marine life.

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