WASHINGTON, D.C. – President Donald Trump has revoked an Obama-era executive order on stewardship of the oceans, Great Lakes and coasts signed in response to the BP Deepwater Horizon disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, and issued a new order encouraging more drilling for oil and natural gas and other industrial activity off U.S. shores.
Trump issued his “Executive Order Regarding the Ocean Policy to Advance the Economic, Security, and Environmental Interests of the United States” Tuesday. The White House said the order rolls back “excessive bureaucracy created by the previous Administration” in 2010 and calls for creation of an interagency committee to streamline federal coordination of ocean policy.
The Ocean Policy Committee is to be co-chaired by the Council on Environmental Quality and Office of Science and Technology Policy and focus on growing the ocean economy, prioritizing scientific research, coordinating resources and data sharing, and engaging with stakeholders. It also eliminates regional planning bodies established by the previous administration.
Unlike the Obama order, which included points addressing climate change and ocean acidification, the new order includes no mention of climate change.
The White House said the order reduces “regulatory uncertainty” for ocean industries.
“The ocean, coastal, and Great Lakes waters of the United States are foundational to the economy, security, global competitiveness, and well-being of the United States. Ocean industries employ millions of Americans and support a strong national economy. Domestic energy production from Federal waters strengthens the Nation’s security and reduces reliance on imported energy,” the order states.
The National Resources Defense Council called the move irresponsible, saying that ocean management had improved under the Obama policy.
“Yet today, President Trump revoked the 2010 National Ocean Policy and issued a new Executive Order that no longer requires federal members to continue planning together with states and tribes for the future. There is no longer a requirement to work with states to provide for coordinated ocean protection and there is no longer a national policy to promote healthy ocean ecosystems,” NRDC’s Senior Policy Analyst Alison Chase writes.
Pete Stauffer, environmental director with the Surfrider Foundation, also issued a statement, saying the ocean advocacy group was dismayed by the repeal of the National Ocean Policy.
“Repealing the policy is a blow to sensible and effective management, and is yet another attack on our ocean and coastlines,” said Stauffer.