NACO Joins in Effort to Pause National Ocean Policy Implementation

Some members have asked, “How does the National Ocean Policy Affect me?”.

• Potential restrictions on access to boating and fishing areas through marine spatial planning
•  No representation on regional planning bodies or other panels created by the National Ocean Policy, which results in no voice in formulating  proposal and planning
• Further restrictions on possible environmental impacts from bottom paints, cleaners, etc.
• potential expansion of current MPAs (no fishing zones) and creation of many more, this affects all rivers, lakes (Great Lakes), streams, coastal areas, and oceans, and there is much more.
• States have been told they can object to any federal proposal but the federal proposal will happen regardless.

On March 20, Senators David Vitter (R-LA), Marco Rubio (R-FL), Mike Lee (R-UT), John Barrasso (R-WY), Jim DeMint (R-SC), Jeff Sessions (R-AL), Roger Wicker (R-MS), Mike Crapo (R-ID), and John Cornyn (R-TX) sent a letter to the chairs of of the Commerce, Science and Transportation committee, the Environment and Public Works Committee, and the Energy and Natural Resources Committee. "Given the many industries and issues captured by the plan and also under the jurisdiction of your committees, we would specifically like to explore under what Congressional authority the Administration has proposed this plan and, additionally, request oversight hearings on the nine national priorities listed by the plan," the letter states.

"While the policy purports to use existing authorities and funding for implementation, we are concerned the absence of Congressional oversight combined with the vastness of the proposal may lead to increased government spending and, ultimately, an expanded bureaucracy," the letter continues. Citing the regulatory uncertainty created by the draft plan as it relates to industries which depend on the ocean (including recreational and commercial fishing), the letter was addressed to Senate committee chairmen John Rockefeller (D-WV), Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and Jeff Bingaman (D-NM) by adding "we believe rigorous Congressional oversight is necessary."

NACO signed on to a coalition letter of 80 different organizations in support of efforts by Rep. Doc Hastings (R-WA) to call for a "pause in policy implementation" through funding appropriations towards President Obama's National Oceans Policy.