Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Obama's Ocean Grab

As if locking up a lot of land across the western US wasn’t enough, The Obama Administration now wants to lock up significant stretches of oceans, beaches, rivers and streams. As stated, this was done under executive order when a sweeping “Clean Ocean Act” was not able to pass muster in Congress due to economic concerns.  The original “Ocean 21” was going to be a job killer. In the original bill introduced by Sam Farr (D-CA) very little was mentioned about job development or sustainment. It was also a blatant attempt to grab power from the states on how to best manage their own coastlines. It would have given NOAA full authority of coastal waterway decisions, leaving the states to pound sand.

By signing this executive order, Obama has completely bypassed Congress and has essentially turned over decision making authority regarding our coastlines to a 27 member panel that will be populated by the likes of Ken Salazar, John Holdren, and Carol Browner. As an added fun note, this panel will NOT have any Congressional input as to who the members will be. They will be appointed by, and serve at, the President’s pleasure. Each of these individuals and others are complete left wing environmental wackos. What do you want to bet that their decisions will not favor job creation or sustainment? One of the members of the panel, Jane Lubchenco, has proposed a job-killing policy of allocating and consolidating a small number of catch permits. If you read further in the article just linked you’ll see that Sen Kerry (D-MA) wants to take it a step further, buying out fisherman, destroying the boat and retiring the shares permit. It makes me wonder why Senators from Massachusetts and Maine (Snowe and Collins R-ME) would sponsor a bill that would in all likelihood decimate an industry that has a 300 year heritage in their respective states.

In section 2, Policy there are 10 items that are “…the policy of the United States…” regarding stewardship of our ocean, coasts and the Great Lakes. Of those 10 policy subparagraphs, nine of them set policy for protection, study, understanding, etc, of the Oceans and other waterways.  In none of the 10 paragraphs does it mention job creation or sustainment in any concrete way.

“The United States shall promote this policy by:”

“Ensuring a comprehensive framework for the stewardship of the ocean, our coasts, and the Great Lakes that facilitates cohesive actions across the Federal Government, as well as participation of the State, tribal, and local authorities, regional governance structures, nongovernmental organizations, the public, and the private sector.” (emphasis mine)

Two things stand out here. First is that word participation. That is government speak for thanks for coming but we are smarter than you so just go along your merry way and let us smart people make the decisions. They are basically telling everyone else to go away. They’ll make the decisions whether you like it or not.  The second item that catches my eye is the order. Please note this section of the Executive Order has you and me (the public) second to last, and the job providers (private sector) dead last. Is Obama trying to tell us something here? Is he trying to tell us that John Q. Public and the job creators needn’t even bother to stop by?

At the end of the Executive Order is an interesting statement. “…it shall be consistent with applicable international law, including customary international law, such as that reflected in the Law of the Sea Convention.” Why is there nothing within this Executive Order that states it shall be consistent with US laws? Was this omission an oversight? It would seem that our sovereignty should be the first and possibly only concern, unless outside or our territorial waters. I think this little statement shows how much Obama would like for us to be governed from beyond our borders.

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