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Donald Trump Signs Executive Order Revoking Barack Obama’s National Ocean Policy, Opens Oceans to Drilling

donald trump, executive order, protecting oceans, climate change, barack obama

US Vice President Mike Pence speaks as US President Donald Trump looks on before signing an executive order on immigration in the Oval Office of the White House on June 20, 2018 in Washington, DC. - US President Donald Trump on Wednesday signed an executive order aimed at putting an end to the controversial separation of migrant families at the border, reversing a harsh practice that had earned international scorn.'It's about keeping families together,' Trump said at the signing ceremony. 'I did not like the sight of families being separated,' he added. (Photo by Mandel Ngan / AFP) (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)

President Donald Trump quietly signed an executive order rescinding Obama-era protections of U.S. oceans, coastlines, and Great Lakes waters on Tuesday, just weeks after proclaiming June “National Ocean Month.”

Trump’s decision puts corporate profits ahead of the need for environmental conservation at a time when climate change and oceanic dead zones are becoming a greater threat to civilization and wildlife.

The president’s executive order focuses on energy production, fishing, and national security, which the EO states are “foundational to the economy, security, global competitiveness, and well-being of the United States. ”

“Ocean industries employ millions of Americans and support a strong national economy,” it says. “Domestic energy production from Federal waters strengthens the Nation’s security and reduces reliance on imported energy.”

Goods and materials that support our economy and quality of life flow through maritime commerce.  Our fisheries resources help feed the Nation and present tremendous export opportunities.  Clean, healthy waters support fishing, boating, and other recreational opportunities for all Americans.

Trump’s executive order is a reversal of one signed by President Barack Obama in the wake of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion in 2010. It aimed at protecting the world’s marine life and oceanic chemistry, which climate change is actively disrupting.

America’s stewardship of the ocean, our coasts, and the Great Lakes is intrinsically linked to environmental sustainability, human health and well-being, national prosperity, adaptation to climate and other environmental changes, social justice, international diplomacy, and national and homeland security.

Trump’s order “downplays an Obama administration emphasis on creating robust data collections that could help managers make decisions, and on encouraging state and federal agencies to collaborate on plans that would guide marine development, conservation, and other activities,” writes Science.

Nowhere in Trump’s executive order do the words “conservation,” “stewardship” or “climate change” appear, nor does the president reference ongoing, man-made threats to the oceans which include acidification, dead zones, or the bleaching of coral reefs, such as Great Barrier off the coast of Australia.

Environmental groups were quick to call out Trump on what they say is an irresponsible move that leaves Earth’s oceans susceptible to additional man-made damage.

Trump’s executive order “undercuts important conservation measures needed to support strong coastal economies.” said Jacqueline Savitz, chief policy officer at Oceana.

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  • Brandon Gage

    Political Writer

    Brandon began his writing career in a hospital bed in July, 2017. His mission is to provide insight ... keep reading

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