Friday, September 10, 2010

Obama - Federal zoning for oceans, rivers, bays, estuaries

As if the sputtering U.S. economy weren’t in enough trouble already, the Obama administration is cooking up a new scheme that will extend the heavy hand of Washington to somewhere it has never gone before. Unveiled with precious little fanfare on July 19 in the form of an Executive Order, the White House’s Ocean Policy Initiative will subject America’s waterways — oceans, rivers, bays, estuaries, and the Great Lakes — to federal zoning. Under the scheme, these areas would be managed according to the Orwellian-sounding notion of “coastal and marine spatial planning.” As an unnamed administration official told the Los Angeles Times: “This sets the nation on a path of much more comprehensive planning to both conservation and sustainable use of [ocean] resources.” An elaborate, multi-layered bureaucratic structure would oversee all of this. Nine regional commissions, composed of federal, state, and tribal officials, would decide which commercial and recreational activities are appropriate. Their recommendations, however, would have to be approved by a newly created National Ocean Council, which the White House says will “strengthen ocean governance and coordination.”...more

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