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23 June 2018, 01:02 | Brenda Erickson
Trump scraps Obama policy protecting oceans, Great Lakes
The National Fisheries Institute (NFI) on Friday voiced support for President Trump's action this week to rescind a policy created under the Obama administration in 2010 designed to protect U.S. ocean resources and those of the Great Lakes.
"President Trump is reducing unnecessary bureaucracy and regulatory uncertainty which serve as headwinds for America's ocean industries", read a statement from the White House. 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'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. Trump says it was too bureaucratic. The Obama policy set the stage for the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast Ocean plans, the first regional frameworks to come out of the planning process.
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 administration has encouraged a "cooperative federalism" approach that shifts more responsibility to state governments.
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.
Trump's order downplays environmental protection, saying it would ensure that regulations and management decisions don't get in the way of responsible use by industries that "employ millions of Americans, advance ocean science and technology, feed the American people, transport American goods, expand recreational opportunities and enhance America's energy security".
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"Domestic energy production from Federal waters strengthens the Nation's security and reduces reliance on imported energy", the order states.
Executive action from the U.S. President erased offshore energy planning burdens, an industry group said, though critics said it was a war on oceans. His administration also is stepping up federal leases for offshore wind energy development. Trump's approach involves fewer governmental bodies and promises to promote a strong ocean economy.
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