Today is the annual celebration of World Oceans Day and this month is officially National Oceans Month. President Obama used the occasion last year to create the Ocean Policy Task Force and directed them to develop a National Ocean Policy and a framework for Coastal and Marine Spatial Planning. The task force consists of 24 government entities and they have spent the last year conducting an efficient, thoughtful and thorough processes for policy development. It’s been done exactly how policy should be made. Now, when the final policy should be ready for implementation the leaders of the task force are buried in 24/7 efforts to stop the BP oil disaster. Is the final National Ocean Policy another victim of the general mayhem caused by the BP oil disaster? Big Oil strikes again.
Was there ever a better time for a National Ocean Policy? We know that a National Ocean Policy would not have stopped BP’s Deepwater Horizon disaster from becoming the worst human caused environmental catastrophe since the Dust Bowl. But the fact is crystal clear that an ocean policy would have helped with the very crisis management that state and federal governments are dealing with now. It sounds a heck of a lot like what Coast Guard Admiral Thad Allen calls “unity of effort.” Prior planning should have required serious impact analysis, included labor practices that reduce safety threats, increased involvement from agencies who are not captured by the oil and gas industry that they are supposed to regulate and established a foundation of conservation that would not reduce ecosystem values to the number of barrels of oil that could be removed out of the ocean floor. So, yes, we need to stop the oil geyser and we still need the Administration to act on a final National Ocean Policy.
The best way to commemorate World Oceans Day is to take some action. Call your Senators directly or through the Capitol Hill switchboard at 202-224-3121 and ask them to permanently oppose all oil drilling off of the Atlantic coast. Today you can also attend or hold an oil disaster vigil as hundreds are being planned around the country. Another item you will want to put on the calendar now is the nation-wide Hands Across the Sand event on June 26. Stay tuned on this page for more info. Lead by example. Love, celebrate and act to protect your oceans and coasts.
Before you go… CLF is working every day to create real, systemic change for New England’s environment. And we can’t solve these big problems without people like you. Will you be a part of this movement by considering a contribution today? If everyone reading our blog gave just $10, we’d have enough money to fund our legal teams for the next year.