Trump scraps Obama policy protecting oceans, Great Lakes
23 June, 2018, 11:59
As a result of the new policy, productive partnerships regarding ocean use can make progress and lead to increased economic, environmental and energy security for America, he said.
Obama had endorsed the first national ocean policy and called on federal agencies to work with states and local governments to protect the waters off the US coasts, including the Great Lakes.
Industry and energy are prominent in the Trump order, which states at the outset "ocean industries employ millions of Americans and support a strong national economy".
President Barack Obama's oceans policy was largely a response to the 2010 Gulf of Mexico industrial spill that unleashed hundreds of millions of gallons of oil and ravaged marine life.
Not only is there no mention of the spill in the new policy, but it references the importance of oil drilling as well as commercial fishing, shipping, and other industries. He said he was "rolling back excessive bureaucracy created by the previous administration" and depicted the Obama council as bloated, with 27 departments and agencies and over 20 committees, subcommittees and working groups.
"The executive order reverses the misguided course of the 2010 National Ocean Policy", he said in a statement.
In a blog post, Alison Chase, a senior policy analyst with the Natural Resources Defense Council, said the order no longer requires federal planning with states and tribes. The directive called on state and federal governments to work together to promote "healthy ocean ecosystems".
He added that the offshore energy industry has "successfully operated side by side with other ocean users, without major conflict, guided by the planning inherent in the five-year offshore national program and the leasing process mandated by the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act".
It's drawing praise from groups representing offshore energy producers, and drawing fire from environmentalists. "Domestic energy production from Federal waters strengthens the Nation's security and reduces reliance on imported energy".
Jack Belcher, managing director of the pro-industry National Ocean Policy Coalition, said the new approach would remove "a significant cloud of uncertainty" for marine commerce.
"President Trump's action will help the health of our oceans and ensure local communities impacted by ocean policy have a seat at the table".
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