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Did an amendment in a FY2013 House appropriations bill strip funding for all of Obama’s ocean priorities for NOAA, NASA and NSF?

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ANALYSIS:

In a debate on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives, Representative Bill Flores, (R-TX), introduced an amendment to H.R. 5326, the FY2013 appropriations bill for that sets the funding for a number of agencies including NOAA – referred to by some as the federal government’s “ocean agency,” NASA and the National Science Foundation. The amendment by Representative Flores sought to block all funding in FY2013 for agencies in the Commerce, Justice, Science appropriations bill that would be used to implement the “National Ocean Policy,” a policy established by President Obama through Executive Order in the first year of his presidency.

Rep. Bill Flores

U.S. House of Representatives Congressman Bill Flores from Texas introduced an amendment to the fiscal year 2013 federal appropriations bill for a block of agencies including NOAA, NASA and the National Science Foundation. The language said “none of the funds made available by this Act may be used to implement {President Obama’s] National Ocean Policy…relating to the stewardship of oceans, coasts, and the Great Lakes.” The language passed on a vote of 246-174 and is included in the spending bill which now resides in the hands of the Senate.

Here’s the CJS appros bill language introduced by Rep. Bill Flores:

“At the end of the bill (before the short title), insert the following:

    Sec. __. None of the funds made available by this Act may be used to implement the National Ocean Policy developed under Executive Order 13547 (75 Fed. Reg. 43023, relating to the stewardship of oceans, coasts, and the Great Lakes).”

The amendment was broadly supported, passing on a 246-174 vote, with strong dissent voiced by a few members including Rep. Sam Farr from California and Rep. Ed Markey from Massachusetts.

It seems pretty clear that Rep. Flores wished to defund Marine Spatial Planning – referred to by some as ocean zoning– as he has spoken against that part of the national ocean policy several times.  But what else would also be defunded?  i.e. in the President’s E.O., and the documents that support it (including a draft implementation plan that has been on the street for many months) there are clear references to things like programs addressing coral reefs, marine debris, data collection – all sorts of things.  If the Flores amendment makes it through the Congress (i.e. is either mirrored by Senate language or accepted in Conference) would all Obama priority actions on oceans which fall under the National Ocean Policy would be defunded for 2013 for the CJS block of agencies (NOAA, NASA, NSF)?

Possible types of milestones planned by the Administration in 2013 which might be defunded by the Flores amendment to the CJS FY13 bill include:

Example – “Complete formal interagency partnership agreements (e.g., Memoranda of Agreement) between National Ocean Council agencies regarding coordination and leveraging efforts to achieve Ecosystem Based Management. (NOC; 2013)”

Example – “Phase Ecosystem Based Management principles and goals into the Federal process for awarding future grants related to the restoration of ocean, coastal, and Great Lakes ecosystems,

to the extent practicable. Require future funded projects to collect data in accordance with the data practices developed in Action 3 of the Coastal and Marine Spatial Planning priority objective, to the extent feasible. (NOAA; 2013)”

 Example – “Review the interpretation and, as necessary, propose to strengthen content and/or application of Federal legislation, including the Coastal Zone Management Act, Coastal Barriers Resources Act, the Stafford Act, and others to incorporate and better support climate change adaptation efforts. (NOAA, DOI; 2013)”

A spokesperson in the House Natural Resources Committee Majority Office (Rep. Doc Hastings, chairman) said yes, the amendment is pretty clear that the spending prohibition relates to all aspects of the President’s plans to implement the National Ocean Policy.

A spokesman from Rep. Flores office was a bit more vague on the extent of the impact, saying the purpose of this language is to impose a “time out” from funding so that questions regarding funding and regulation can be answered before more federal funds are reprogrammed towards the implementation of the National Ocean Policy.

Requests for comments by the House of Representatives Appropriations Committee Majority Office and the Administration’s Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ), in the Executive Office of the President remain unanswered by the time this article was authored.

The following background documents include the Executive Order the President issues which established the National Ocean Policy, supporting documents referenced by the E.O., and the most recent implementation plan for the National Ocean Policy as issued by the White House.

http://www.whitehouse.gov/files/documents/2010stewardship-eo.pdf

http://www.whitehouse.gov/files/documents/OPTF_FinalRecs.pdf

http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/microsites/ceq/national_ocean_policy_draft_implementation_plan_01-12-12.pdf

 

 

The author is a scientist by training and the owner of W.H. Nuckols Consulting, an environmental policy, government relations and strategic communications firm in Washington, DC.
A bio for Mr. Nuckols is located at www.WilliamHNuckols.com

You can follow Will Nuckols on Twitter at @enviroxpert and on Pinterest at http://pinterest.com/willnuckols/

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Written by Will Nuckols

May 24, 2012 at 10:08 am

Senators ask hard questions about the US’s plans to respond to the 3-11 tsunami debris

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On Thursday May 17, 2012 the Senate Commerce Committee, Oceans, Atmosphere, Fisheries, and Coast Guard Subcommittee, held an oversight meeting on Stemming the Tide: The U.S. Response to Tsunami Generated Marine Debris. Senators Begich, Snowe and Cantwell asked questions of NOAA and the USCG.

A Storify compilation of tweets about the hearing can be seen at

http://storify.com/WillNuckols/senate-commerce-committee-laments-lack-of-plans-to

Storify summary of 3-11 Tsunami Debris Hearing Tweets

Link to the Storify recap at http://sfy.co/xnj

http://sfy.co/xnj

The full video of the hearing is available on the Senate Commerce website at http://commerce.senate.gov

 

The author is a scientist by training and the owner of W.H. Nuckols Consulting, an environmental policy, government relations and strategic communications firm in Washington, DC.
A bio for Mr. Nuckols is located at www.WilliamHNuckols.com

You can follow Will Nuckols on Twitter at @enviroxpert and on Pinterest at http://pinterest.com/willnuckols/

Written by Will Nuckols

May 17, 2012 at 3:19 pm

House Republicans broadly support amendment to block President’s efforts to make federal ocean agencies more efficient

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On Wednesday afternoon on the floor of the House of Representatives Representative Bill Flores, (R-TX), introduced an amendment to H.R. 5326 the FY2013 appropriations bill for those agencies in Commerce, Justice, Science budget block. The Amendment would block the expenditure of any funds provided by the Commerce Justice Science (CJS) appropriations bill for FY2013 to be used for the implementation of the “National Ocean Policy,” thereby blocking the coordination of the multitude of laws passed by Congress in a more efficient manner.

While the vote in the House of Representatives occurred largely along party lines, it is a mistake to characterize the issue as one which Democrats understand more clearly than Republicans. A handful of Republicans, including the House Natural Resources Committee chair Rep. Doc Hastings from Washington, are seemingly perpetually confused about the meaning of the National Ocean Policy, the Executive Order which created it and the policies that it espouses.

Flores Amendment to block funding for National Ocean Policy presented on the House floor 10May2012

However, this lack of understanding has not been consistent in the Republican Party. In the prior Administration President Bush (43) called for a Presidential Commission to examine America’s policies regarding our oceans and coasts, and that group’s report, dovetailed remarkably well with the Pew Ocean Commission, Chaired by Leon Panetta, which released its own report shortly before President Bush’s Commission released its findings. None of the findings in either Commission’s reports support a call from current Republicans in the House to further frustrate coordination and collaboration among the dozens of federal agencies involved in implementing the laws passed by Congress which impact our oceans and coasts.

The Flores amendment passed on a 246-174 vote, largely along party lines. A detailed listing of the vote is listed below.

The text of the amendment language is:

“At the end of the bill (before the short title), insert the following:

    Sec. __. None of the funds made available by this Act may be used to implement the National Ocean Policy developed under Executive Order 13547 (75 Fed. Reg. 43023, relating to the stewardship of oceans, coasts, and the Great Lakes).”

The author is a scientist by training and the owner of W.H. Nuckols Consulting, an environmental policy, government relations and strategic communications firm in Washington, DC.
A bio for Mr. Nuckols is located at www.WilliamHNuckols.com

You can follow Will Nuckols on Twitter at @enviroxpert and on Pinterest at http://pinterest.com/willnuckols/

FINAL VOTE RESULTS FOR ROLL CALL 234(Republicans in roman; Democrats in italic; Independents underlined)

—- AYES    246 —

Adams
Aderholt
Akin
Alexander
Altmire
Amash
Amodei
Austria
Barletta
Barrow
Bartlett
Barton (TX)
Benishek
Berg
Bilbray
Bilirakis
Bishop (NY)
Black
Blackburn
Bonner
Bono Mack
Boren
Boustany
Brady (TX)
Brooks
Broun (GA)
Buchanan
Bucshon
Buerkle
Burgess
Burton (IN)
Calvert
Camp
Campbell
Canseco
Cantor
Capito
Carter
Cassidy
Chabot
Chaffetz
Coble
Coffman (CO)
Cole
Conaway
Cravaack
Crawford
Crenshaw
Critz
Cuellar
Culberson
Davis (KY)
Denham
Dent
DesJarlais
Diaz-Balart
Dreier
Duffy
Duncan (SC)
Duncan (TN)
Ellmers
Emerson
Farenthold
Fincher
Flake
Fleischmann
Fleming
Flores
Forbes
Fortenberry
Foxx
Franks (AZ)
Frelinghuysen
Gallegly
Gardner
Garrett
Gerlach
Gibbs
Gibson
Gingrey (GA)
Gohmert
Goodlatte
Gosar
Gowdy
Granger
Graves (GA)
Graves (MO)
Green, Al
Green, Gene
Griffin (AR)
Griffith (VA)
Grimm
Guinta
Guthrie
Hall
Hanna
Harper
Harris
Hartzler
Hastings (WA)
Heck
Hensarling
Herger
Herrera Beutler
Hochul
Holden
Huelskamp
Huizenga (MI)
Hultgren
Hunter
Hurt
Issa
Jenkins
Johnson (IL)
Johnson (OH)
Johnson, Sam
Jordan
Kelly
King (IA)
King (NY)
Kingston
Kinzinger (IL)
Kissell
Kline
Labrador
Lamborn
Lance
Landry
Lankford
Latham
Latta
Lewis (CA)
LoBiondo
Long
Lucas
Luetkemeyer
Lummis
Lungren, Daniel E.
Mack
Manzullo
Marchant
Marino
Matheson
McCarthy (CA)
McCaul
McClintock
McCotter
McHenry
McKeon
McKinley
McMorris Rodgers
Meehan
Mica
Miller (FL)
Miller (MI)
Miller, Gary
Mulvaney
Murphy (PA)
Myrick
Neugebauer
Noem
Nugent
Nunes
Nunnelee
Olson
Owens
Palazzo
Paul
Paulsen
Pearce
Pence
Peterson
Petri
Pitts
Platts
Poe (TX)
Pompeo
Posey
Price (GA)
Quayle
Rahall
Reed
Rehberg
Reichert
Renacci
Ribble
Rigell
Rivera
Roby
Roe (TN)
Rogers (AL)
Rogers (KY)
Rogers (MI)
Rohrabacher
Rokita
Rooney
Ros-Lehtinen
Roskam
Ross (AR)
Ross (FL)
Royce
Runyan
Ryan (WI)
Scalise
Schilling
Schock
Schweikert
Scott (SC)
Scott, Austin
Sensenbrenner
Sessions
Shimkus
Shuler
Shuster
Simpson
Smith (NE)
Smith (NJ)
Smith (TX)
Southerland
Stivers
Stutzman
Sullivan
Terry
Thompson (PA)
Thornberry
Tiberi
Tipton
Turner (NY)
Turner (OH)
Upton
Walberg
Walden
Walsh (IL)
Webster
West
Westmoreland
Whitfield
Wilson (SC)
Wittman
Wolf
Womack
Woodall
Yoder
Young (AK)
Young (FL)
Young (IN)

—- NOES    174 —

Ackerman
Andrews
Baca
Baldwin
Bass (CA)
Bass (NH)
Becerra
Berkley
Berman
Biggert
Bishop (GA)
Blumenauer
Bonamici
Boswell
Brady (PA)
Braley (IA)
Brown (FL)
Butterfield
Capps
Capuano
Cardoza
Carnahan
Carney
Carson (IN)
Castor (FL)
Chandler
Chu
Cicilline
Clarke (MI)
Clarke (NY)
Clay
Cleaver
Clyburn
Cohen
Connolly (VA)
Conyers
Cooper
Costa
Costello
Courtney
Crowley
Cummings
Davis (CA)
Davis (IL)
DeFazio
DeGette
DeLauro
Deutch
Dicks
Dingell
Doggett
Dold
Doyle
Edwards
Ellison
Engel
Eshoo
Farr
Fattah
Fitzpatrick
Frank (MA)
Fudge
Garamendi
Gonzalez
Grijalva
Gutierrez
Hahn
Hanabusa
Hastings (FL)
Hayworth
Heinrich
Higgins
Himes
Hinchey
Hinojosa
Hirono
Holt
Honda
Hoyer
Israel
Jackson (IL)
Jackson Lee (TX)
Johnson (GA)
Johnson, E. B.
Jones
Kaptur
Keating
Kildee
Kind
Langevin
Larsen (WA)
Larson (CT)
LaTourette
Lee (CA)
Levin
Lewis (GA)
Lipinski
Loebsack
Lofgren, Zoe
Lowey
Luján
Lynch
Maloney
Markey
Matsui
McCarthy (NY)
McCollum
McDermott
McGovern
McIntyre
McNerney
Meeks
Michaud
Miller (NC)
Miller, George
Moore
Moran
Murphy (CT)
Nadler
Neal
Olver
Pallone
Pascrell
Pastor (AZ)
Pelosi
Perlmutter
Peters
Pingree (ME)
Polis
Price (NC)
Quigley
Rangel
Reyes
Richardson
Richmond
Rothman (NJ)
Roybal-Allard
Ruppersberger
Rush
Ryan (OH)
Sánchez, Linda T.
Sanchez, Loretta
Sarbanes
Schakowsky
Schiff
Schrader
Schwartz
Scott (VA)
Scott, David
Serrano
Sewell
Sherman
Sires
Smith (WA)
Speier
Stark
Stearns
Sutton
Thompson (CA)
Thompson (MS)
Tierney
Tonko
Towns
Tsongas
Van Hollen
Velázquez
Visclosky
Walz (MN)
Wasserman Schultz
Waters
Watt
Waxman
Woolsey
Yarmuth

—- NOT VOTING    11 —

Bachmann
Bachus
Bishop (UT)
Donnelly (IN)
Filner
Kucinich
Napolitano
Schmidt
Slaughter
Welch
Wilson (FL)