Monday, February 24, 2014

Deep Ocean Policy: Is it too early?

     Balancing the need for policies before there is a clear need for policies is always a delicate argument. In some instances developing policies before an industry reaches maturity can  head off unintended damage to an ecosystem. On the other hand pushing to create policies where it is not clear that they are needed can be viewed as premature regulation. The current discussion is focused on the deep sea where, according to this article in Space Daily, "Technological advances have made the extraction of deep sea mineral and precious metal deposits feasible." The article quotes Cindy Lee Van Dover, director of the Duke University Marine Laboratory, "It is imperative to work with industry and governance bodies to put progressive environmental regulations in place before industry becomes established, instead of after the fact." The reasoning behind this argument is to get it right based on current science. If this logic were followed in the past would we have as much of an issue with space debris as we do now? As asteroid mining becomes more of a reality should we be formulating policies to address foreseeable issues? An example of creating policies for a young industry is the FAA creating a roadmap to integrate unamanned aircraft systems (UAS) into current airspace. On the other hand premature policy making could stifle innovation and prevent business from being carried out.  There is no one best course of action, but it is important to engage in open, objective dialogue.

Resources to explore policy and policy making:
Definition of policy:
Policy making cycle: