Resource Developers Concerned About National Ocean Council Initiatives

Resource developers see a new White House initiative as a risk to Alaska’s coastal economy. And it’s coming as coastal communities anticipate the closure of the state’s Coastal Management program. The Resource Development Council is calling on its members to help give a state response to the new National Ocean Council.

Marleanna Hall, a projects coordinator for the RDC, says the group is concerned that the federal agency will begin to develop regulations affecting the state’s coastline.

The National Oceans Council was established last summer by executive order from President Obama. It combines the work of 27 federal agencies and is a cabinet-level council charged with dealing with the most-pressing problems facing the oceans.

Hall says it has issued nine action plans – dealing with a variety of ocean priorities – and is currently accepting public comments.

State Representative Bob Herron, D-Bethel, agrees with the possible effects of the National Ocean Council. However, he says the state still has the opportunity to continue to have a strong voice to protect its interests without relying on individuals and industry — The Alaska Coastal Management Program. Unfortunately, that agency is scheduled to close at the end of this month if the legislature doesn’t extend it.

He says the federal interest in ocean protection is not likely to be a short-term interest at the national level – no matter who is in the White House.

He says if the Coastal Management Program closes, the state will have lost an important tool in dealing with the federal government.

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