"Under the rules of the Endangered Species Act, once a species is discovered to be at risk of extinction, government agencies are required by law to take steps to save it. For years, critics have challenged that mandate, arguing that it undercuts the ability to weigh a species’ value or to consider the economic impact of its preservation — for instance, the cost of prohibiting logging in a valuable tract of forest. Since Donald Trump took office, these objections have gained ground; there are currently six bills pending in Congress, all aimed at overhauling (some would say gutting) the Endangered Species Act."
Struggling to stay up-to-date with the dizzying array of news coming out of the White House? Here's the news you need to know that pertains to ocean and coastal conservation.
Via Huffington Post
"The Trump administration’s proposal to open up nearly all U.S. waters to oil and gas development threatens more than 2.5 million jobs and roughly $180 billion in gross domestic product in coastal states, according to an economic review by ocean conservation nonprofit Oceana."
"by Jay Austin, Senior Attorney and Editor-in Chief of the Environmental Law Reporter, Environmental Law InstituteFor the past year or so, a steady refrain in environmental and regulatory law has been “can he do that?” – the ongoing reexamination of presidential and executive branch authority against a dizzying backdrop of reversals, revisions, and rescissions of Obama Administration policies and rules. My own attempts to answer this question included a look at last April’s Executive Order 13795 on “Implementing an America-First Offshore Energy Strategy,” which attempts to extend the new watchword of “energy dominance” to the outer continental shelf."
"Members of Congress who represent Puget Sound are pushing back against the Trump administration’s budget for 2019 in part because it would zero out all federal funding for cleanup and recovery of the iconic ecosystem."
"To take a page out of the U.S. presidential playbook, perhaps we should take stock and ask how we find the state of our ocean, one year into the Trump administration? To be honest, it’s been a challenging year. The administration has made numerous announcements and decisions that have the potential to impact coastal communities and residents, ocean habitat and wildlife."
Via The Verge
"Several non-profits have recently received donations that specifically mention Trump as the reason for charity. And many are new donors, including several from outside of the US. For instance, one donation to Sea Shepherd Conservation Society came with the comment “Because Trump.” Another one said: “Contribution to save the Sharks after reading the article ‘Trump hopes sharks die,’” Zorianna Kit, media director for Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, tells The Verge."
"On a windless, clear day that January, off the coast of Santa Barbara, a drilling rig ruptured, venting oil into the water and onto the beaches. Thousands of seabirds died. That tragedy led to, among other things, the creation of our Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary. Republican President Richard Nixon responding to the spill, created NOAA to assure ocean resources were developed “without either contaminating the marine environment or upsetting its balance.” Two years later, he created national marine sanctuaries."
"...as aggressive as it is on paper, the new plan faces an uphill climb before it results in actual leasing in many of the new areas it covers. First, lease sales off the coasts of Washington, Oregon, California, and the entire Northeast will be bitterly contested by those state governments. As several analyses have pointed out, even though OCS resources belong to the federal government, states have enormous leverage over key aspects of the development process."
"Given the tidal wave of bipartisan opposition that it has triggered since its unveiling earlier this month, the Trump administration’s controversial plan to expose nearly all U.S. coastal waters to the risk of oil spills will attract vocal national and local criticism when listening sessions kick off this week in Annapolis, MD (January 16), Richmond, VA (January 17) and Dover, DE (January 18). "
"The Trump administration said Tuesday it had ruled out drilling for oil and gas off the coast of Florida after strong opposition from the state’s Republican governor, Rick Scott."