The House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Fisheries, Wildlife, Oceans, and Insular Affairs is trying to find what’s really going on with the administration’s National Ocean Policy (NOP).
And --- big surprise! --- the administration is being less than transparent.
In case you haven’t been paying attention, the NOP is a plan created by Executive Order to “zone” uses of the oceans, coastal waters, and Great Lakes. Intentionally vague language allows for the zoning to extend inland as well. In other words, the feds will tell us where we can and cannot fish.
Earlier this week, the administration released its final plan for implementation of the NOP, prompting the subcommittee to convene an oversight hearing.
At that hearing, our elected representatives learned little from the Obama-appointed bureaucrats, including Nancy Sutley, chair of the Council on Environmental Quality. For example, after being pressed to name who from CEQ or other agencies was involved in the development and implementation of the plan, she refused to specify one person or staff member who has contributed to this effort.
I can’t name specific people who developed the plan, but I can tell you unequivocally they belong to preservationist environmental groups that are not allies of recreational fishing. They are the same crowd that pushes for “marine protected areas,” where no sport fishing is allowed, and they will use the NOP to create them wherever they can.
Following the hearing, Rep. Doc Hastings of Washington, chair of the Natural Resources Committee, sent a letter to Sutley and John Holdren, co-chair of Sutley of the National Ocean Council.
“Over the past two years, the Obama Administration has repeatedly limited public transparency and frustrated attempts to obtain information about the cost, legal authority, activities, and staffing involved with developing and implementing regional ocean zoning plans and other parts of the National Ocean Policy,” Hastings said.
“Ms. Sutley’s testimony before the Subcommittee did little to provide clarity or allay concerns about the funding sources, regulatory impact, mandatory nature, and role of States, local governments, Tribes, and interested groups in implementing the National Ocean Policy. This is unacceptable, especially now that the final plan has been released.”
Here’s some background from the Natural Resources Committee:
On July 19, 2010, President Obama signed Executive Order 13547 to adopt the final recommendations of the Interagency Ocean Policy Task Force to implement a new National Ocean Policy, which includes a mandatory Coastal and Marine Spatial Planning initiative to “zone” the oceans. In this unilateral action, he established a top-down, Washington, D.C.–based approval process that will hinder rather than promote ocean and inland activities and cost American jobs.
The final implementation plan raises more questions than answers and provides even less information on what the Obama Administration will impose under the guise of a National Ocean Policy and the impending regional management plans.
Due to concerns about the impact of the National Ocean Policy on economic and recreational activities in ocean, coastal, and inland environments, the House of Representatives in both the 112th and 113th Congresses passed amendments by bipartisan votes to halt funding for President Obama’s National Ocean Policy. The Natural Resources Committee has held multiple hearings and sent a series of letters to the National Ocean Council to conduct oversight and get answers to the many questions surrounding this policy.