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Obama’s National Ocean Policy Protects the Environment and Economy

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OceanOn Tuesday, the Obama Administration released a plan to protect oceans, coastal and Great Lakes environments while simultaneously protecting environmental businesses that are responsible for 44 million jobs.

The plan will set in motion the National Ocean Policy that was originally established by Barack Obama in 2010. 27 federal departments, offices, and agencies will be involved.

Republicans criticized the plan and called it bureaucratic overreaching. Congressmen Hastings of Washington state and Bill Flores of Texas, both Republicans, criticized the ocean policy as mere bureaucracy. Environmental groups, on the other hand, praised Obama’s plan as smart management designed to support economic development.

The plan is designed to enforce federal agencies involved in ocean management to work together to eliminate duplication and red tape and to focus on sharing severe storm data, information about sea level changes, ocean condition forecasting, and regional marine planning. Obama’s plan is also focused on improving the ability to predict conditions in the Arctic since economic activity is increasing there.

Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), an environmental group, said the plan could foster a return to ocean health, which would support fishing, tourism, and clean energy development businesses.

The White House said maritime economic activities in 2010 contributed $258 billion in GDP to the national economy and supported 2.8 million jobs. US coasts are home to many people, though, a much larger 41 percent of GDP, or $6 trillion, was generated in coastal counties, supporting some 44 million jobs and $2.4 trillion in wages in 2010.

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