The following is a copy of a letter sent by U.S. Sen. David Vitter to President Obama today…
President Barack Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Ave. NW
Washington, D.C. 20500
Cc: NOAA Administrator Jane Lubchenco
Dear Mr. President and Administrator Lubchenco:
I write to express sincere opposition regarding the Interagency Ocean Policy Task Force Interim Framework for Effective Coastal and Marine Spatial Planning (“Interim Framework”). Although I have long supported reasonable policy mechanisms to enhance interagency coordination on oceans policy issues, the Interim Framework gives the impression that the administration is seeking to implement fundamental changes to both the regulatory structure and statutory authorities that form the basis for nearly every aspect of oceans management and use.
The Gulf of Mexico retains significant economic, cultural, and social importance to the state of Louisiana. If the intention of the Interim Framework is to create a new government superstructure headed by the National Ocean Council at the expense of the role of the states, which have primary jurisdiction for resident fish and wildlife, I can assure you that the states, in particular the Gulf states, will have zero tolerance for and much indignation over such a gross expansion of federal authority.
I urge the administration to back away from any efforts to supersede or diminish existing federal and state laws that govern our ocean fisheries for both commercial and recreational use. The Interim Framework brazenly calls for a top-down federal approach to every aspect of ocean management, and would impact every sector and every conceivable ocean activity without input from all stakeholders.
I can assure you that continued pursuit of the Interim Framework will exacerbate current concerns with NOAA’s ability to effectively manage the oceans for all users as well as mistrust and resentment of the agency. I respectfully request immediate public access to all comments and recommendations NOAA has delivered to the Council on Environmental Quality, as a well as a list of all Executive Orders and statutory and regulatory authorities the administration is contemplating utilizing in implementing Marine Spatial Planning and the Interim Framework.
I hope that your administration can keep in mind that the role of the government is to effectively manage resources for all citizens to enjoy with input from all stakeholders, not to cut off access to resources, like prohibiting commercial and recreational fishing, at the behest of a handful of special interest groups.