Industry is cheering and environmentalists are denouncing President Donald Trump's decision to rescind an Obama-era executive order aimed at protecting America's Great Lakes and oceans.
“Ocean industries employ millions of Americans and support a strong national economy,” the new order states, mentioning energy production, the military, freight transportation and other industries.
This order maintains and enhances these and other benefits to the Nation through improved public access to marine data and information, efficient interagency coordination on ocean-related matters, and engagement with marine industries, the science and technology community, and other ocean stakeholders,” it states.
The order Trump repealed went into effect following the 2010 BP Deepwater Horizon explosion and oil spill.
Where President Obama emphasized that major bodies of water are “intrinsically linked to environmental sustainability, human health and well-being, national prosperity” and other issues, Trump's order encourages more drilling and industrial use of the oceans and lakes.
Republicans and industry leaders praised the move, saying Obama had overstepped his authority and strangled industry development.
“Today’s announcement of President Trump repealing and replacing the bureaucratic, overreaching policy created under the previous administration puts our country’s ocean policy back on the right track,” said Rep. Rob Bishop (R-Utah), chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee.
“President Trump’s action will help the health of our oceans and ensure local communities impacted by ocean policy have a seat at the table.”
Expectedly, environmentalists bristled at the news:
“With the action today eliminating the National Ocean Policy, President Trump is trying to wash his hands of responsibility for the real and urgent threats facing America’s coastal communities — namely, the impacts of climate change,” said Christy Goldfuss, senior vice president for energy and environment at the Center for American Progress.
“In the absence of a president who is willing to lead, it is now more important than ever that coastal governors, tribal leaders, state legislatures, and local communities take up the mantle of leadership and work together to defend and restore the health of America’s oceans.”