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Sarah Chasis, Senior Attorney and Director, Ocean Initiative, New York

Sarah Chasis

Sarah Chasis is a senior attorney at the Natural Resources Defense Council, Inc. (NRDC). She has worked at NRDC for more than 30 years and currently serves as Director of its Ocean Initiative. Her advocacy for oceans and coastal waters has been wide-ranging. She has worked to protect sensitive ocean areas from offshore oil drilling, promote the clean up of polluted waters at the nation’s beaches, strengthen coastal zone management and oil spill prevention programs, and improve domestic and international fisheries management.

She helped convince Congress to pass legislation requiring an end to unsustainable harvest of ocean fisheries and has successfully promoted state initiatives to strengthen ocean protections. In recognition of her work, Ms. Chasis was selected as the first Coastal Steward of the Year by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Ms. Chasis has participated in a wide variety of commissions and coalitions including serving on the Marine Board of the National Research Council and three years staffing NRDC’s President while he served on the Pew Oceans Commission. She is an Adjunct Professor of Clinical Law at the New York University School of Law. In 2007, she received the Smith College Medal awarded to women who have risen to the top of their fields while contributing their talent and expertise to the improvement of others’ lives.

Recent Posts

Three Immediate Ways to Stave Off Ocean Collapse

Posted January 19, 2015 by Sarah Chasis

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Our ocean animals are headed the way of the dinosaurs. Mass extinctions of fish, marine mammals and other aquatic life, could occur within decades. That's the unfathomable--but all too real--conclusion of a widely-reported new study published in the journal Science....continued

A Spotlight on Ocean Issues During Capitol Hill Ocean Week and Beyond

Posted June 10, 2014 by Sarah Chasis

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This week, at Capitol Hill Ocean Week (CHOW), marine professionals, ocean enthusiasts, and government officials will gather to network, talk policy, and increase their knowledge about the state of the world’s oceans.  It’s an important opportunity to celebrate recent progress...continued

The National Ocean Policy Turns Three

Posted July 18, 2013 by Sarah Chasis

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With this week of unrelenting heat, many of us are daydreaming about cool ocean breezes and hoping to get away to the beach for the weekend. From the shoreline, we rarely see much happening beyond the breaking waves. But the...continued

New York State One Step Closer to Sustainable Offshore Wind Development

Posted July 10, 2013 by Sarah Chasis

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The Cuomo administration today released a report that lays out crucial data that will help identify areas off New York’s shores that are of importance for wind energy siting and areas that need protection. This means that New York State...continued

New Report from Bipartisan Commission on How to Better Manage Our Oceans

Posted June 21, 2013 by Sarah Chasis

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As Americans nationwide pack up and head toward the beach this summer,  a timely new report has been issued about ways of improving the management of our ocean resources. With smart, practical recommendations for strengthening the health of our ocean resources...continued

10 Years After Landmark Oceans Report, We're On the Right Track

Posted June 7, 2013 by Sarah Chasis

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This week marks the 10th anniversary of a groundbreaking report from the Pew Oceans Commission, which boldly called for increased ocean protections to save our fragile blue planet. America’s Living Oceans: Charting a Course for Sea Change exposed how we...continued

New Action Plan Offers Brighter Future for Our Struggling Oceans

Posted April 16, 2013 by Sarah Chasis

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A brighter ocean future is on the horizon. Thanks to a final ocean action plan released by the Administration today, we now have a list of specific actions the federal government will take to tackle some of the major threats...continued

NRDC's Karen Garrison Wins Prestigious Ocean Conservation Award

Posted February 4, 2013 by Sarah Chasis

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For more than a decade, Karen Garrison has worked tirelessly to protect precious ocean life along California’s coastline. Building support with conservationists, scientists, fishermen and policymakers, Karen has played a key role in the development of California’s landmark network of...continued

Ocean Planning Success: New Agreement Will Promote Offshore Wind and Protect Precious Whales

Posted December 11, 2012 by Sarah Chasis

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In a landmark agreement announced today, three leading offshore wind energy companies and several environmental groups have come together in favor of smart offshore wind energy development and protections for endangered ocean creatures. Together, they have outlined a plan to...continued

With the Election Over, "Forward" Means Moving Ahead with Smart Ocean Planning

Posted November 13, 2012 by Sarah Chasis

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As our government officials finally move beyond election season rhetoric and preoccupation, it’s time to start looking forward. For our oceans and all those who depend on them, that means continuing down the path of smart, ocean management that will...continued

Reflections on Second Anniversary of National Ocean Policy

Posted July 19, 2012 by Sarah Chasis

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This week marks the two-year anniversary of our National Ocean Policy, a landmark victory for ocean life, and for all of us who love, use, and make a living off the ocean. Only two years ago, President Obama established the...continued

New Report Shows Obstructionist Politics Harming Ocean Management

Posted June 6, 2012 by Sarah Chasis

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This week in our nation’s capital, ocean leaders, advocates and businesses, along with ocean champions in Congress, are taking a closer look at the future of our oceans, as part of Capitol Hill Oceans Week. Thanks to a report released today by...continued

Making it Count: National Oceans Month and Rio+20

Posted June 1, 2012 by Sarah Chasis

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Actions speak louder than words: hundreds join to show their support for the oceans. Show your support by asking President Obama to represent our oceans’ needs at Rio+20. We’ve all made promises to ourselves with the best of intentions...continued

Attacks Threaten the Health of our Oceans and Economy

Posted May 7, 2012 by Sarah Chasis

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As kids start to trade in their backpacks for beach towels, they’re not the only ones with their eyes toward the ocean. In a backdoor attack on our ocean health, some Republicans in Congress are trying to attach amendments that...continued

Drilling our Atlantic Coast

Posted March 28, 2012 by Sarah Chasis

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Some of the most mysterious and enthralling places on Earth may be next in line for oil and gas drilling. Today the Obama Administration released its draft Environmental Impact Statement on its proposed plan to allow areas offshore the Mid- and South Atlantic...continued


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