WASHINGTON, April 12 - Eighty-one groups submitted a letter to U.S. House Appropriations Committee Chairman Harold Rogers (KY), as well as the Chairperson of each House Appropriations Subcommittee, asking that language be included in all Fiscal Year 2013 appropriations bills that would prohibit the use of funds to implement the new National Ocean Policy (NOP). The request was made as part of an effort to achieve a pause in policy implementation that would provide more time for oversight and examination of potential impacts.
The NOP, created through an Executive Order issued by President Obama in 2010, “has the potential to unnecessarily harm terrestrial and marine economic values by affecting sectors such as agriculture, commercial and recreational fishing, construction, manufacturing, marine commerce, mining, oil, gas and renewable energy, recreational boating, and waterborne transportation, among others,” the groups wrote, noting that “These sectors support tens of millions of jobs and contribute trillions of dollars to the U.S. economy.”
The letter's signatories represent a wide array of commercial and recreational interests and reflect the breadth of concern that citizens and businesses across the United States continue to have about the National Ocean Policy as developed thus far.
“During this time of constrained public resources, it is concerning to many in the regulated community that federal agencies have been ‘instructed to prioritize’ the National Ocean Policy in their
Fiscal Year 2013 budgets, and asked how their ‘existing resources [can] be repurposed’ in furtherance of this new initiative,” the letter stated.
An NOP draft implementation plan describes more than 50 actions the federal government will take to improve the health of the oceans, coasts and Great Lakes. The plan is structured around nine policy objections:
Coastal and marine spatial planning
Inform decisions and improve understanding
Better coordinate and support Federal, State, tribal, and local and regional
Resiliency and adaptation to climate change and ocean acidification
Regional ecosystem protection and restoration
Water quality and sustainable practices on land
Changing conditions in the Arctic
Ocean, coastal, and Great Lakes observations, mapping, and infrastructure
A final strategy for implementing the NOP is expected to be released this spring.
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