Trump’s new oceans policy washes away Obama’s emphasis on conservation and climate

Science | AAAS | 6/19/2018 | Staff
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Marine conservation and addressing climate change are out. Jobs and national security are in.

That’s just one message sent by a new executive order detailing a revised U.S. oceans policy released today by President Donald Trump. The order formally revokes the 2010 oceans policy issued by President Barack Obama, and replaces it with a markedly different template for what the U.S. government should focus on in managing the nation’s oceans, coastal waters and Great Lakes.

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Some changes in emphasis are sweeping. The Trump order deletes a preamble to the Obama policy that emphasized “how vulnerable our marine environments are,” called for improving the nation’s “capacity to respond to climate change and ocean acidification,” and stressed the need for “a national policy to ensure the protection, maintenance, and restoration of the health of ocean, coastal, and Great Lakes ecosystems.” It also drops the Obama order’s references to “social justice,” “biological diversity,” and “conservation.”

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Instead, the Trump order stresses economic and security concerns. U.S. waters “are foundational to the economy, security, global competitiveness, and well-being of the United States,” the order begins. “Ocean industries employ millions of Americans and support a strong national economy. Domestic energy production from Federal waters strengthens the Nation's security and reduces reliance on imported energy.”

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Specific priorities are also very different. In the Obama order, top items on a list of ten policies included the need to “protect, maintain, and restore the health and biological diversity” and boost “conservation and sustainable uses” of resources, and using “the best available science and knowledge to inform” management decisions and “understand, respond, and adapt to a changing global environment.”

Those ideas are essentially absent from Trump’s list of seven ocean policy priorities. It first calls for federal agencies to...
(Excerpt) Read more at: Science | AAAS
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