In June 2018, President Trump repealed the National Ocean Policy created by President Obama in 2010 and in doing so shut down the collaborative regional ocean planning bodies it created. All of this was the result of years’ worth of regional outreach and engagement by two commissions on ocean policy, one which was established by President Bush. What does this mean for American oceans, marine life, fisheries, and coastal communities, each with their own economic impacts?
Sarah Winter Whelan, Ocean Program Director for the American Littoral Society and Jenna Valente, Ocean Policy Manager for the American Littoral Society, talked with Rob about what is happening to America’s oceans for the worst and, with much citizen involvement, reasons for ocean optimism.
Trump’s closing of ocean planning bodies is very unfortunate for the collaborative efforts that have come out of years of work. It sets a tone and makes clear priorities favoring resource extractions at any expense. The action is consistent with 76 different environmental rules and regulations that have been rolled back.
The Northeast and Mid-Atlantic Regional Planning Bodies completed their Ocean Plans, in 2016, which were then certified by the Obama White House. Both plans have been implemented by the various agencies, states, tribal nations and participants over the last year and a half, but the repeal of the National Ocean Policy throws all of this work into question.
The Northeast and Mid-Atlantic Ocean Data Portals, www.northeastoceandata.org and http://portal.midatlanticocean.org/, are information packed-full with peer-reviewed sources including many maps and data charts. One can go there to research marine life, restoration, recreation, ship traffic and water quality. Ocean users are welcome to add comments on the record. The Ocean Data Portals are completely accessible and key for making informed decisions by regulatory agencies.
The Healthy Oceans Coalition (https://healthyoceanscoalition.org) is a national network of ocean users, conservationists, and concerned citizens that are committed to policies that protect and conserve America’s ocean, coasts, and Great Lakes. Sarah and Jenna are two of the principals at HOC. The best way to reach them is via the HOC website.