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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)
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Non-partisan and Optimistic: Oceans bring out the best in Congress

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On Tuesday September 13, 2011, a non-partisan and optimistic group of senators came together to kick off the establishment of the Senate Oceans Caucus in the United States Senate. With remarks centered around bragging about who has more coastline or whose state borders not just one but two oceans, the mood was refreshingly friendly and full of optimism. With remarks about the common ground (water?) that brings them together these group of Senators seemed, well, positively senatorial. Acting with a sense of leadership and a commitment to protect those things that Americans hold dear, tonight there not only was an absence of the partisan bickering that has caused the Capitol to come to a virtual screeching halt but there was also actual friendly optimism indicating that we can work together in D.C.

Kicked off by Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), and followed up by co-chair Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) the remarks by all tonight centered around what we can do together rather than what we can do to do to undermine each other.

And if bi-partisan wasn’t enough, Representative Sam Farr, chair of the House Coastal Caucus, stopped by expressing his enthusiasm for the formation of an ocean-minder coalition in the Senate making oceans a bicameral effort.

As Senator Whitehouse remarked “this is day one.” The real test of the effectiveness of the caucus begins now.

The remarks of Senators Whitehouse and Murkowski from the Senate Oceans Caucus reception are available as MP3 files for download below.

microphone   http://whnuckolsconsulting.com/audio/whitehouse.MP3

  http://whnuckolsconsulting.com/audio/murkowski.MP3

photo of Senators kicking off the Senate Oceans Caucus

Senators Whitehouse and Murkowski will co-chair the bi-partisan Senate Oceans Caucus that was formed on September 13, 2011.

The members of the Caucus are: Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Daniel Akaka (D-HI), Mark Begich (D-AK), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Scott Brown (R-MA), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Tom Carper (D-DE), Chris Coons (D-DE), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Daniel Inouye (D-HI), John Kerry (D-MA), Mary Landrieu (D-LA), Patty Murray (D-WA), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Olympia Snowe (R-ME), and Ron Wyden (D-OR).

Also in attendance were a number of Obama Administration officials including Dr. John Holdren from OSTP, Nancy Sutley from CEQ and Jane Lubchenco from NOAA.

The author is a scientist by training and the owner of W.H. Nuckols Consulting, an environmental policy firm.
A bio for Mr. Nuckols is located at www.WilliamHNuckols.com
You can follow Will Nuckols on Twitter at @enviroxpert

The oil spill – “this is our Sputnik”

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Congressman Sam Farr speaks at CHOW in Washington, DC

Congressman Sam Farr calls the Deepwater Horizon accident "our Sputnik" and argues for America to "get off of the black: black coal and black oil."

On Wednesday June 9, 2010 Congressman Sam Farr spoke at the Capitol Hill Ocean Week (CHOW) conference and to no great surprise, the ongoing oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico found its way into the Congressman’s remarks. Congressman Farr has been beating the drum for some time now for an overhaul of our system of governance and how we organize government to address ocean issues, as well as a need for an attention to budget allocations for oceans that are at least on par with our attention to the atmosphere part of the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

The oil spill – “this is our Sputnik”

The U.S.’s attention to those calling for missions to space changed dramatically on October 4, 1957, when the Soviet Union successfully launched Sputnik I, a small artificial satellite was about the size of a beach ball, into space. It had never been done before and the first people to do this successfully weren’t the Americans, but our cold war enemies the soviets.

Two years earlier in July 1955 the White House had announced plans to launch an Earth-orbiting satellite, a proposed 3.5 pound payload. But when Sputnik reached space the soviets not only got there first, they did it with a payload in excess of 180 pounds. In this they drove home the point that the soviets were faster than us, and achieved a technologically superior task by launching a much larger satellite than we had even hoped to put into orbit.

Further driving home the fact that U.S. technology and programs were not at the cutting edge, less than a month after Sputnik I launched, on November 3, the soviets launched Sputnik II complete with a dog named Laika into orbit.

The Sputnik launch led directly to the creation of National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). In J958, Congress passed the National Aeronautics and Space Act which created NASA as of October 1, 1958.

Any rational response to the gulf oil spill, given the real damages to the U.S. (in contract to the theoretical threat to the U.S. that Sputnik I and II posed), would include a significant response from the executive and legislative sides of government.

Congressman Farr certainly is not alone when he has called for a better organized executive structure that would more efficiently and effectively address the needs of the nation in our coastal and ocean zones. While broad reorganization is the realm of the Executive Office of the President, incremental steps forward should start immediately. As Representative Farr stated “we are still [operating] in our own silos.”

A call for an ocean policy that creates a focal point for all agencies to fall behind is a message that has been stated so many times in DC. While the call to action is common, the actual action thus far has been insufficient.

Governance issues aside, energy policy itself can drive significant improvements in the threats to our oceans. Sam Farr put it simply: “we need to get off of the black. Black coal and black oil.”

To hear these quotes, as well as some additional wise words from Congressman Farr, check out the two video links below.

The author is a scientist by training and the owner of W.H. Nuckols Consulting, an environmental policy firm.

Written by Will Nuckols

June 10, 2010 at 12:06 pm