The Pacific coast is a region of amazing beauty and resources with a unique set of concerns. In 2008, Alaska, British Columbia, California, Oregon, and Washington created the Pacific Coast Collaborative with a vision to “create a formal basis for cooperative action, a forum for leadership and information sharing, and a common voice on issues facing Pacific North America.” This week at the inaugural PCC Leaders’ Forum the Pacific Coast Collaborative states ratified two action plans: 1) Innovation, the Environment and the Economy and 2) Ocean Conservation and Coastal Climate Change Adaptation. The Ocean and Coastal action plan is a powerful, unified statement about how the West Coast will adapt to and move forward in response to climate change issues. With 52 million people living in the 5 states and $2.5 trillion GDP, the PCC views itself as a “mega-region” that would rank as the world’s 7th largest economy and has geographically unique coastal concerns.
The Action Plan on Ocean Conservation and Coastal Climate Change Adaptation addresses how the four states and British Columbia will work together on ocean health and conservation issues and their collective financial support for ocean research. If the interest is genuine and the vision turns into action, this “mega-region” could become an influential progressive force in both the U.S. and all of Pacific politics. For the first time the entire Pacific coast will be sharing marine and coastal environment research data and cooperating around marine debris, invasive species and ocean pollution issues. They will also be sharing data and planning for shared issues like flood protection, land use decisions and sustainable fisheries management. The other Action Plan on Innovation, the Environment and the Economy addresses energy and transportation issues.
“These agreements demonstrate our collective commitment to protecting the health of the West Coast’s ocean and the ecosystems and economies that depend on them. Taking strong action now means a stronger tomorrow for our coastal communities,” said Oregon Governor Ted Kulongoski.
Along with the action plans, the PCC released a 10 page “Vision 2030: Positioning Pacific North America for Sustainable Prosperity” document that is big on pictures and summary, but important because it presents a unified vision for the region. It is intended to be a living document that will evolve along with the PCC.