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Locke Wraps Up Clean Energy Trade Mission

Secretary Locke and government officials at table

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke wrapped up the final day of his clean energy trade mission in Jakarta, Indonesia Wednesday. While in Jakarta, Locke and representatives from 10 U.S. clean energy companies participated in several group meetings about clean energy with Indonesian officials and business representatives and received updates on the market from local executives working in the energy field. At the University of Indonesia, Locke participated in a discussion with students highlighting the importance of innovation in creating new clean energy technologies. He also addressed the American Chamber of Commerce in Indonesia and visited the Port of Jakarta to witness the signing of an ocean exploration agreement.

“This effort is not limited to one country; both Indonesia and the United States can benefit from cooperating on clean energy development,” Locke said during his town hall meeting with students. “The United States, Indonesia and the entire world are counting on bright, motivated people like all of you to discover the new clean energy technologies that could help put millions of our people to work in high-skill, high-wage jobs.”

Locke has been leading the administration’s first Cabinet-level trade mission over the past week and a half, traveling to Hong Kong, Shanghai and Beijing, China before his final stop in Jakarta. The mission had a goal of advancing President Obama’s National Export Initiative, which aims to double U.S. exports within five years to support two million American jobs.

Overall, Locke was joined by a business delegation of 46 executives from 29 U.S. companies on the mission, along with representatives from the U.S. Trade Development Agency (TDA), the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) and the Export-Import Bank of the United States (EXIM).

Press release

NOAA’s Oil Spill Response in the Gulf of Mexico

NOAA and White House officials examine fish samples taken from spill area

As the nation’s leading scientific resource for oil spills, the Commerce Department's National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has been on the scene of the BP spill from the start, providing coordinated scientific weather and biological response services to federal, state and local organizations.

NOAA has mobilized experts from across the agency to help contain the spreading oil spill and protect the Gulf of Mexico’s many marine mammals, sea turtles, fish, shellfish and other endangered marine life.

NOAA spill specialists are advising the U.S. Coast Guard on cleanup options as well as advising all affected federal, state and local partners on sensitive marine resources at risk in this area of the Gulf of Mexico. Additionally:

  • NOAA is predicting the oil spill’s trajectory and the path of the layers of oil floating on the surface. OR&R experts are conducting aerial surveys to update trajectory maps and visually track the movement of the spill.
  • NOAA’s National Weather Service is providing regular weather forecasts to a joint federal command center in Louisiana to facilitate operations planning and response efforts.
  • Experienced marine mammal spotters from NOAA’s Southeast Fisheries Science Center are participating in surveillance flights flown by the Office of Marine and Aviation Operations to assess the species and populations that may come in contact with the spill.
  • NOAA also is using experimental satellite data from our Satellite Analysis Branch to survey the extent of spill-related marine pollution.

As a major partner in the federal response to this evolving incident, NOAA will continue to provide the necessary coastal and marine expertise required for sound, timely decision-making and help protect the affected Gulf Coast communities and coastal marine environment.

Latest News

Secretary Locke Underscores U.S.-Indonesia Partnership, Highlights Value to Economic and Environmental Health

Locke witnesses signing of first-ever Indonesia-U.S. Ocean Exploration Partnership MOUU.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke underscored shared U.S.-Indonesia economic and environmental commitments at an event today at Muara Baru, a commercial fishing port in North Jakarta. Locke addressed joint efforts to prevent illegal and unregulated fishing and witnessed the signing of the first-ever U.S.-Indonesia ocean exploration agreement. He was joined by Indonesia’s Coordinating Minister for People's Welfare Agung Laksono, Research and Technology Minister Suharna Surapranata, Secretary for People's Welfare Indroyono Soesilo, and Dr. Gellwynn Jusuf, Director General for Research, Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fisheries.

Read more

Secretary Locke Announces Fishery Failure Determination in Gulf of Mexico

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke today determined there has been a fishery disaster in the Gulf of Mexico due to the economic impact on commercial and recreational fisheries from the ongoing Deepwater Horizon oil spill. The affected area includes the states of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama.

“We are taking this action today because of the potentially significant economic hardship this spill may cause fishermen and the businesses and communities that depend on those fisheries,” Locke said. “The disaster determination will help ensure that the Federal government is in a position to mobilize the full range of assistance that fishermen and fishing communities may need.”

Locke made the determination under Section 312(a) of the Magnuson-Stevens Act.  The declaration was made in response to requests from Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal and Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour based on the loss of access to many commercial fisheries and the existing and anticipated environmental damage from this unprecedented event.

Since May 2, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has closed a portion of federal waters affected by the spill to commercial and recreational fishing. This closure area, which is based on the scientific trajectory of the spill, now includes nearly 20 percent of federal waters in the Gulf of Mexico, largely between Louisiana state waters at the mouth of the Mississippi and the waters off Florida’s Pensacola Bay.

Full release
Related NOAA release

Latest NOAA status release on oil spill

Secretary Locke Completes Clean Energy Trade Mission to China

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke addresses students and scientists at China’s prestigious Tsinghua University.Secretary Locke wrapped up his China clean energy trade mission – the first Cabinet-level trade mission of the Obama administration –  Friday in Beijing. Over the last week, Locke visited Hong Kong and Shanghai and will continue on to Jakarta, Indonesia on Tuesday after participating in the U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue.

Throughout the mission Locke focused on opportunities for U.S.-China collaboration in the clean energy market and the special responsibility the two countries have to lead the way in combating global climate change. 

At his last stop in Beijing, Locke engaged in a first-of-its-kind dialogue and live webchat with Tsinghua University students and scientists who are working on cutting-edge, clean-energy technologies. Locke told the students that the United States, China and the entire world are counting on bright, motivated people to discover new energy technologies to reach energy efficiency goals while creating jobs in China and the United States.

He also visited the United Family Hospital New Hope Cancer Treatment Center, a joint U.S.-China venture featuring nearly $6 million worth of U.S. exports of medical technology.

In China, Locke traveled with representatives of 24 U.S. businesses. Ten executives will be continuing on with him to Jakarta, Indonesia, along with representatives from the Trade Development Agency (TDA), Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) and the Export-Import Bank of the United States (EXIM).

The clean energy trade mission comes on the heels of President Obama’s call to double U.S. exports in the next five years and support 2 million American jobs.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke engages in a dialogue with 
students at Tsinghua University  working on , clean-energy tech

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke engages in a dialogue with students and scientists working on cutting-edge, clean-energy technologies at China’s prestigious Tsinghua University.  The dialogue featured live questions from Chinese “netizens,” and a transcript of the event was streamed live on the Global Times Web site and later re-posted on NetEase.com.

NOAA: Ocean Stored Significant Warming Over Last 16 Years

The upper layer of the world’s ocean has warmed since 1993, indicating a strong climate change signal, according to a new study. The energy stored is enough to power nearly 500 100-watt light bulbs per each of the roughly 6.7 billion people on the planet.

“We are seeing the global ocean store more heatOcean waves breaking over rocks than it gives off,” said John Lyman, an oceanographer at NOAA’s Joint Institute for Marine and Atmospheric Research, who led an international team of scientists that analyzed nine different estimates of heat content in the upper ocean from 1993 to 2008.

The team combined the estimates to assess the size and certainty of growing heat storage in the ocean. Their findings will be published in the May 20 edition of the journal Nature. The scientists are from NOAA, NASA, the Met Office Hadley Centre in the United Kingdom, the University of Hamburg in Germany and the Meteorological Research Institute in Japan.

The team combined the estimates to assess the size and certainty of growing heat storage in the ocean. Their findings will be published in the May 20 edition of the journal Nature. The scientists are from NOAA, NASA, the Met Office Hadley Centre in the United Kingdom, the University of Hamburg in Germany and the Meteorological Research Institute in Japan.  

Read the full story here.

Commerce's USPTO Co-Sponsored Collegiate Inventors Seeking Inventive Entries from Students

Harris Wang, Harvard Medical School; Arti Rai, USPTO Administrator for External Affairs; Stephen Diebold University of Illinois

The Invent Now Collegiate Inventors Competition, now in its 19th year, is inviting inventive students to enter its 2010 competition.

The Collegiate Inventors Competition is designed to recognize and honor student innovators at the graduate and undergraduate levels.  Since 1990, the Competition has honored numerous individuals and teams for their outstanding inventive contributions and innovative research.  This year, nearly $80,000 in cash prizes will be awarded to the winning undergraduate and graduate students and advisors at a special awards ceremony in Washington, D.C. in the fall.    The Competition is sponsored by the United States Patent and Trademark Office and the Abbott Fund.

The deadline for entering this year’s Competition is June 25, 2010.   Entries are judged on originality of the idea, process or technology, and their potential value and usefulness to society.

Read more here.

Locke Launches Clean Energy Trade Mission in Hong Kong

 Secretary Locke answers questions at launch even for the Clean Energy Trade MissionOver the weekend, Secretary Locke arrived in Hong Kong and kicked off the first cabinet-level trade mission of the Obama administration.  The Clean Energy Mission, which will eventually make stops in Shanghai, Beijing, China and Jakarta, Indonesia is focused on promoting the export of technologies and services related to clean energy, energy efficiency and electric energy storage, transmission and distribution. 

Planned just months after the President announced his National Export Initiative, Locke will attempt to advance the president's goal of doubling U.S. exports within five years to support jobs.

In addition to meeting with government officials and businesses himself, Locke will also introduce the 24 U.S. business executives who are joining him on the China portion of the trip to potential Chinese partners who can help them in their efforts to win contracts for building wind turbines and other green technology projects.  As the Secretary mentioned in a speech following his arrival:

"The companies on this trade mission can help create economic opportunity and good jobs back in America, while helping Hong Kong and China grow their own economies and meet energy demand in a way that won’t put the planet and our entire way of life at risk... This trade mission is truly a win-win for American companies and their workers and for the people of Hong Kong and China."

During his first full day of the mission, in addition to a number of high-level meetings with government and business leaders, Locke visited the green Hong Kong Disneyland Hotel, took a look at a number of innovations in green transportation, toured the Hong Kong Science and Technology Park and signed an agreement that will make it easier for American vintners to export U.S. wines to Hong Kong and Asia.

Read more to see more pictures of today's events.

Statement from Commerce Secretary Gary Locke on Retail Sales in April 2010

Commerce's U.S. Census Bureau today released retail sales for April 2010.  Retail sales increased 0.4 percent, following a large 2.1‑percent rise in March.  Sales of building materials and garden equipment and supplies jumped 6.9 percent following a similarly large gain in March.  Private-sector analysts had expected a small decline of 0.1 percent in total sales in April.

“The rising trend in retail sales indicates that consumer spending continues to grow, underlining increasing confidence in the recovery,” U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke said.  “The gains in consumer spending are yet another indication that the outlook for sustained economic growth is improving.”

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