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« Angling Participation Increases | Main | Carp Threat Spreads East »

Administration Ignores Congress, Pushes Ahead with Plan to 'Zone' Public Waters

A final version of the National Ocean Policy (NOP) Implementation Plan likely will be released sometime soon, even as the Obama Administration continues to ignore requests from Congress to provide documents and information before finalization.

The NOP’s stated intent is “marine spatial planning.” In other words, unelected bureaucrats will “zone” uses of our waters, telling us where we can and cannot fish. It will commence with oceans and the Great Lakes, but wording in previous documents clearly shows that the NOP’s reach will extend far inland to rivers, reservoirs, and lakes.

Of course, the best way to stop this Big Government freight train that will restrict public access to public waters is to vote out the Obama Administration in November.

Until then, many in Congress continue to demand accountability regarding the NOP and its implementation.

In an Aug. 15 letter to NOP bureaucrats, Rep. Doc Hastings, chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee, says this:

“More than two years have passed since President Obama unilaterally issued a new National Ocean Policy that created an expansive federal bureaucracy to manage ocean activities and resources without any specific Congressional approval, and more than eight months have passed since a draft plan was released containing more than 50 proposed actions for implementing the National Ocean Policy and mandatory zoning of the ocean and coastal areas.

“Despite this passage of time, Congress and the American public are still left questioning the legal justification, regulatory burdens, funding sources, and economic impacts of the National Ocean Policy.

“Since last year, a number of specific questions and requests for information have gone unanswered. Based on the lack of specificity in earlier responses and the failure to provide all of the requested information and documentation, it seems apparent the Administration is intent on avoiding scrutiny of its plans to establish this new federal bureaucracy to manage economic and recreational activities affecting the oceans, including those occurring far inland.

 “It is imperative that the National Ocean Council provide the long-requested information before the draft implementation plan is finalized.

“In response to an October 2011 request for a summary of the legal  authorities to support the National Ocean Policy's proposed ocean zoning initiative, Chairwoman Sutley responded with only vague generalities that the President's actions were in  line with the Constitution and numerous environmental laws. 

“However, in none of the laws cited did Congress authorize the President to establish this new federal bureaucracy to manage ocean activities or recourses or to create new regulations and policies that could close off parts of the ocean and stifle American job creation.”

In documenting the Administration’s failure to cooperative with Congress, Hastings also said this:

 “It is troubling that your agencies have to  date refused to provide the requested information or comply with the document production instructions attached to the original February 23  letter, notwithstanding President Obama's stated commitment to create ‘an unprecedented level of openness in Government.’

“The previously requested information is necessary for Congress to understand the activities and funding of the National Ocean Council, and whether certain ocean advocacy organizations have had undue influence over the development and implementation of the National Ocean Policy at the expense of commercial and recreational ocean users whose livelihoods is at stake.”

While I admire Hastings and others in Congress for continuing to confront this issue on behalf of the American people, it is obvious that the Obama Administration is following the agenda of non-government environmental groups that believe in preservation instead of conservation.

And if this President is re-elected, he will implement the NOP through executive fiat, as he continues to thumb his nose at Congress and the Constitution.

Please think about that when you go to the polls in November.

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