NOPC Responds to Release of National Ocean Policy Final Implementation Plan

Concerns Remain Over Potential Impacts

NACO is a member of the NOPC, which is an organization of diverse interests united to ensure that the implementation of the new National Ocean Policy is done in such a way that it is helpful rather than harmful to the National interest, including the interests of commercial and recreational users of the oceans and marine-related natural resources. NOPC membership in particular represents entities and sectors that support tens of millions of jobs and contribute trillions of dollars to the U.S. economy.

Following an initial review of the National Ocean Policy Final Implementation Plan released earlier today (4-16-13), significant questions and concerns remain about whether continued implementation of this initiative will adversely impact commercial and recreational activities across the United States.  In response to the plan’s release, National Ocean Policy Coalition Executive Director Brent Greenfield issued the following statement:

“Since it was first proposed in 2009, commercial and recreational groups, state and local officials, Members of Congress, and citizens across the nation have voiced concerns that the National Ocean Policy could result in new federal directives, bureaucratic layers, and regulatory uncertainties that stand in the way of jobs and economic and recreational activities.  Although the final document released today appears to take a more practical approach than the 2010 Executive Order and the draft plan proposed in 2012, many of the same concerns remain today.

In order to ensure an outcome that is helpful rather than harmful to the national interest, those in charge of overseeing and implementing the National Ocean Policy should promptly and adequately address a number of unresolved issues.  For example, it is unclear how implementation will affect existing decision-making processes, as well as the extent to which implementation might inform or drive future regulatory actions.   It is also unclear how coastal and marine spatial planning will reflect the input of all stakeholders, how regional disputes will be resolved, and how commercial and recreational interests and local officials will be assured of having an adequate seat at the table.  Finally, while the importance of regional flexibility is noted in the plan, it is unclear how we can be assured that this will be accomplished given the requirements of the Executive Order.  It is regrettable that implementation is proceeding given the uncertainty that exists on these critical questions.”