Trump scraps Obama policy on protecting oceans, Great Lakes

IP3- Getty Images

IP3- Getty Images

While most eyes have been on the nation's southern border, the White House this week rolled out a new policy for the coasts, reversing an Obama-era program that sought greater protection of the high seas and angering environmentalists from New England to California.

FILE - In this April 21, 2010, file photo, the Deepwater Horizon oil rig burns in the Gulf of Mexico following an explosion that killed 11 workers and caused the worst offshore oil spill in the nation's history.

Randall Luthi, the president of the National Ocean Industries Association, said the executive action from the Trump administration is supportive of the offshore energy industry.

The Obama order, signed roughly three months after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, called for the federal government to work with states and municipal governments on conservation efforts. Trump says it was too bureaucratic. He said he was "rolling back excessive bureaucracy created by the previous administration" and depicted the Obama council as bloated, with 27 departments and agencies and over 20 committees, subcommittees and working groups. The Obama policy set the stage for the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast Ocean plans, the first regional frameworks to come out of the planning process.

In a blog post, Alison Chase, a senior policy analyst with the Natural Resources Defense Council, said the order no longer requires federal planning with states and tribes.

Massachusetts Democrats seek end to Trump administration's 'zero tolerance' immigration policy
Trump acknowledged to House Republicans that something needed to be done about family separations, a problem he called "nasty". Two immigration bills under consideration in the House could address the separations, but the outlook for passage is dim.

The repeal of the National Ocean Policy comes after Trump's proposal to open up more than 90 percent of federal coastal waters to offshore oil and gas drilling.

Executive action from the U.S. President erased offshore energy planning burdens, an industry group said, though critics said it was a war on oceans.

"To promote our nation's energy security, the National Ocean Policy should promote the responsible development of renewable offshore wind and reject dirty and risky offshore oil drilling", Savitz said.

"In another attempt to reverse progress made under President Obama, the Trump administration is recklessly tossing aside responsible ocean management and stewardship", said Arian Rubio, legislative associate for the League of Conservation Voters.

Industry and energy are prominent in the Trump order, which states at the outset "ocean industries employ millions of Americans and support a strong national economy".

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