Congressman Culberson recently joined with more than 60 of his House colleagues in criticizing recent recommendations made by the Interagency Ocean Policy Task Force. The task force, created by President Obama in June, was led by the White House Council on Environmental Quality and charged with developing a recommendation for a comprehensive national policy for U.S. oceans, coasts and the Great Lakes.
Unfortunately, the task force’s Interim Report did not include the significant role of economic and recreational uses of our oceans. The Obama Administration has already delayed publishing a Five Year Leasing Program for energy development in the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS). This task force report is another attempt to prevent environmentally safe oil and gas exploration – a move that will prevent economic growth and increase energy costs for American consumers. According to a recent American Energy Alliance report, expanded drilling in the OCS would generate 1.2 million jobs and $70 billion in additional wages annually, plus $8 trillion in economic output and $2.2 trillion in total tax receipts.
It is also disappointing that the task force disregarded input submitted by the recreational fishing community. Every year, thousands of Americans take to the oceans to fish recreationally. It is a past time whereby parents teach their children about the importance of caring for the ocean and the vast plant and animal life contained within it. Furthermore, recreational fishermen are some of the best environmental stewards of the ocean and are often leaders in ocean conservation efforts.
This letter urges the Obama Administration and the Interagency Ocean Policy Task Force to make policy recommendations that take into consideration the economic benefits our oceans have to offer us and which do not inhibit the recreational use of our oceans.