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Posts Tagged ‘Blue Frontier Campaign

A policy for the U.S.’s oceans and coasts: the Obama plan vs. an empty (beach) chair?

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ANALYSIS:

Where do most of the people live in the United States?  Coastal states.  What part of America has played an indispensable role in America’s economy since colonial times? The oceans and coasts. So even with just those two reasons alone how could any politician make a run for the Presidency without taking the time to put forth careful thought about how to address our oceans and coasts and their resources which are so important to America’s well being?

empty beach chairs

EMPTY BEACH CHAIRS. Where was the Romney-Ryan campaign when they were asked about their plans for managing our oceans and coasts? Weeks after the Obama Campaign responses detailing its plans, Blue Frontier Campaign founder David Helvarg did his best to guess what Mitt Romney would do based on the Governor’s history in Massachusetts.

Barack Obama’s campaign released a statement about its intentions regarding oceans and coasts for its second term – hardly a surprise given the Obama Administration’s early commitment to establishing a national ocean policy early in the first term, but surprisingly, while they were given many weeks to match the Obama campaign with a response of their own, the Mitt Romney campaign never produced a policy statement on this important part of the nation’s public policy.

The Blue Frontier Campaign, whose mission it is to bring together the approximately 2,000 “blue groups” and agencies it says work on ocean and coastal conservation, sent an inquiry to both campaigns this fall, but only Obama’s Campaign responded. The inquiry entitled “60 Ocean Leaders call on President Obama and Governor Romney to protect the Blue in our red, white and blue” can be found at THIS LINK.

David Helvarg, author and founder of the Blue Frontier Campaign, does an admiral job working to guess what policies might Mitt Romney put forward, based on scant information from the the Governor’s policies in Massachusetts and a few blurbs from Campaign speeches. Does Mr. Helvarg get it right or do the Massachusetts policies on things like marine spatial planning (deciding what activity goes where offshore) mean little if Mr. Romney goes to D.C.? I’ll leave it to the reader to sift through those tea leaves on their own, but what is clear is that Romney’s campaign did little to make a first step into national policy area concerning our oceans and coasts when they failed completely to express an opinion at all in the 2012 race for President.

Mr. Helvarg’s Blue Frontier Campaign press release is included below in its entirely.  The Obama Campaign’s response to Mr. Helvarg’s inquiry is included in the release.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE OCTOBER 18, 2012

Contact: David Helvarg Blue Frontier Campaign (510) 778-8470 or cell (202) 491-6296

Obama and Romney speak out on America’s Ocean.

In Tuesday night’s debate America’s environment and climate crisis went unnoted as did our largest wilderness frontier and a major driver of our economy, our public seas.  America’s ocean waters that provide recreation, transportation, trade, energy, protein and security were mentioned only in the context of offshore drilling.

However, 60 Ocean Leaders in conservation, exploration, science and business have called on President Obama and Governor Romney to explain what they plan to do to protect the Blue in our red, white and blue.  For the content of that letter please go to:

http://www.bluefront.org/wordpress/?p=3865

The letter’s signatories have gotten a response from the Obama campaign but to date have not received an expected one from the Romney campaign.  However several of the Governor’s positions can be ascertained based on his public record.

Below is the statement from President Obama’s Re-election Campaign –

“President Obama is committed to ensuring that our nation’s vast natural resources are used responsibly, and that we maintain healthy oceans and coasts.  By establishing a National Ocean Policy, he made it a priority of the federal government to ensure a proactive approach to improving the conservation of the ocean, our coasts, and the Great Lakes. 

 President Obama is directing additional funding to Gulf Coast restoration to further bring back the fisheries and coastal ecosystems which are still recovering in the aftermath of the Deepwater Horizon spill.  He kicked off the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, the largest investment in the Great Lakes in two decades, which is targeting ecological problems such as invasive species, toxic hot spots, and pollution runoff. And his administration is cleaning up the Chesapeake Bay, establishing a “pollution diet” for the Bay that will help restore the natural habitat for fish and other wildlife. They have also invested over $1.4 billion in Everglades’ restoration, helping restore tens of thousands of acres which will serve as a sanctuary for native Florida plants and wildlife. And under President Obama, we have created or enhanced more than 540 public coastal recreation areas, protected more than 54,000 acres of coastlines and restored over 5,200 acres of coastal habitat. The administration is also investing more in monitoring our fishing stock in coastal areas in order to have the most accurate data possible on the health of our fisheries. These are significant steps that are helping us improve the health of our oceans and build more robust fisheries.”

 Governor Romney has also spoken about his approach to America’s ocean waters first as Governor of Massachusetts and more recently as candidate for President.

 As Governor of Massachusetts Mitt Romney pioneered legislation making it the first state in the nation to put in place a comprehensive statewide planning process to assess new projects proposed for state ocean waters.  He noted the critical need to safeguard the state’s coastal waters from unregulated new uses, noting significant gaps in state and federal authority to permit offshore uses and lease open space.  “The only way to protect our beautiful ocean environment is with comprehensive ocean zoning reform,” he said.  He created an ocean management task force in 2003 comprised of a broad range of stakeholders, including environmental groups, regulators and the fishing industry.  

 In the 2012 Presidential campaign Mitt Romney has called for more state input and control over oil & gas energy leasing in federal outer continental shelf (OCS) waters.  He has pledged to “establish the most robust five-year offshore lease plan in history, that opens new areas for resource development – including off the coasts of Virginia and the Carolinas – and sets minimum production targets to increase accountability.”

The author if this blog 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

November 5, 2012 at 10:10 pm