Trump scraps Obama policy protecting oceans, Great Lakes

Trump Is Fixing Another Democrat Problem

A new National Ocean Policy adopted by the Trump administration stresses economic benefits from ocean industries, rescinding a 2010 Obama policy that focused on marine conservation. Christy Goldfuss, senior vice president for energy and environment at the Center for American Progress, said the Trump administration has been reckless with offshore policies. President Barack Obama issued his policy in 2010 after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Still, she says Trump's order, combined with his efforts to roll back Great Lakes restoration funding, is cause for concern.

The Republican president said he was creating a smaller Ocean Policy Committee while eliminating "duplicative" regional planning bodies created under Obama. His administration has encouraged a "cooperative federalism" approach that shifts more responsibility to state governments.

Critics of Trump's symbolic move said the new policy puts the oceans at risk.

The goal of the National Ocean Council was to coordinate the activities of a wide number of federal agencies charged with regulating different aspects of ocean regulations and develop regional plans to combine these resources and streamline management.

His order drew praise from a group representing offshore energy producers and criticism from environmentalists.

"To promote our nation's energy security, the National Ocean Policy should promote the responsible development of renewable offshore wind and reject dirty and risky offshore oil drilling", Savitz said. "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.

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".

Jacqueline Savitz, a chief policy officer with environmental group Oceana, said in a statement Trump's order "undercuts important conservation measures needed to support strong coastal economies and the millions of Americans who depend on healthy oceans".

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