White House finalizes national ocean policy

The White House on Tuesday issued its final plan for managing the nation’s oceans, outlining a strategy that aims to coordinate the work of more than two dozen agencies and reconcile competing interests including fishing, offshore energy exploration and recreational activities.

While environmentalists as well as some fishing industry officials and state authorities have embraced the National Ocean Policy, it has infuriated conservatives, who describe it as an example of how the Obama administration is overreaching and seeking to limit the rights of recreational anglers and others.Nancy Sutley, who chairs the Council on Environmental Quality and co-chairs the group overseeing the policy, said in a statement the plan “embodies the type of efficient, collaborative government that taxpayers, communities, and businesses expect from their federal government.”

John P. Holdren, who directs the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and co-chairs the National Ocean Council along with Sutley, said the plan “will help advance relevant science and its application to decision-making” regarding the ocean. Those measures include sharing data on severe storms and sea level rise, as well as melting ice in the Arctic.

Several House Republicans have predicted the policy will expand the ability of the Environmental Protection Agency and other agencies to regulate land-based activities since water from there eventually flows to the ocean:

“The National Ocean Policy is just another example of this administration’s determination to spread deeper regulatory authority over land, sea, and air, said Rep. Steve Southerland II (R-Fla.) in a statement. “Protecting our resources and empowering the communities that enjoy access to them is not a zero sum game.  We can achieve both, but not by enforcing more top-down mandates from Washington.”

Washington Post Blog

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