Another Massive Obama Power Grab

Discussion in 'Politics & Religion' started by pspr, Apr 18, 2012.

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    pspr

    By Audrey Hudson

    President Barack Obama has an ambitious plan for Washington bureaucrats to take command of the oceans—and with it control over much of the nation’s energy, fisheries, even recreation in a move described by lawmakers as the ultimate power grab to zone the seas.

    The massive undertaking also includes control over key inland waterways and rivers that reach hundreds of miles upstream, and began with little fanfare when Obama signed an executive order in 2010 to protect the aquatic environment.

    “This one to me could be the sleeping power grab that Americans will wake up to one day and wonder what the heck hit them,” said Rep. Bill Flores (R –Texas).

    “This is pure administrative fiat,” said Sen. David Vitter (R –La.). “It’s very troubling.”

    “This is purely a unilateral administrative action with no real congressional input or oversight,” Vitter said. “I think it clearly threatens to have a big impact on a lot of industry, starting with energy, oil and gas, and fishing.”

    But in his zeal to curb sea sprawl, lawmakers say the president’s executive order also gives Washington officialdom unprecedented reach to control land use as well.

    “The order says they shall develop a scheme for oversight of oceans and all the sources thereof,” Flores said. “So you could have a snowflake land on Pikes Peak and ultimately it’s going to wind up in the water, so as a result they could regulate on every square inch of U.S. soil.”

    [Snip]

    The effects of Obama’s far-reaching policy would be felt by numerous industries including wind farms and other renewable energy undertakings, ports, shipping vessels, and other marine commerce, and upstream it would also affect mining, timber, even farming.

    It will impact consumers directly through rules addressing recreational uses such as fishing and boating, and restricting the multiple use development of the ocean’s resources would also increase the cost of fuel and food, lawmakers say.

    [Snip]

    “If you look at the catalyst for the entire initiative, it comes from the playbook of environmental groups that think the ocean ought to be controlled by the federal government,” Flores said.

    Added Vitter: “This (Obama) administration is more aggressive and left-leaning, and they are going whole hog. I think it’s clearly a threat, and in terms of negatively impacting jobs, it’s a very, very big threat.”

    Blocking new oil, gas production

    The ocean policy has already impacted oil and gas development in the Mid and South Atlantic, where more environmental analysis is now required to determine whether new studies must also be conducted to determine its safety, according to Interior Department Secretary Ken Salazar.

    Jack Belcher, managing director of the Ocean Policy Coalition that represents numerous industries affected by Obama’s initiative including oil companies, says Salazar’s action is one example of how the administration is already blocking new production “on a policy that hasn’t even been developed yet.”

    Still in its draft form, the plan released in January contains vague goals that call for more than 150 milestones to be accomplished by next year that will determine how the ecosystem is managed.

    [Snip]

    “This has largely been completely under the radar,” Vitter said. “And that is exactly the way the administration and their environmental allies want to do it—announce the administrative fiat is complete and that we have this new way of life that nobody knew was coming.”

    House Republicans are fighting back by tightening the purse strings they control and hope that by cutting off funding to implement the policy, and putting a stop to officials they believe are siphoning money away from other programs, they can block it from going forward.

    Rep. Hal Rogers (R -Ky.), who heads the powerful House Appropriations Committee, has been asked to put a stop to the administration’s “cloaked funding” by Rep. Doc Hastings (R–Wash.), chairman of the House Resources Committee.

    “The Obama administration continues to move forward with zoning the oceans through implementation of the president’s National Ocean Policy without requesting funding specifically for this broad initiative and without answering basic questions about how funds are currently being diverted from other missions to fund this initiative,” Hastings said in an April 2 letter to Rogers.

    [Snip]

    Environmental groups that support the president’s efforts include the Pew Charitable Trusts, which says that the fragile health of the oceans is being threatened by the increasing industrialization of the seas.

    “If poorly planned or managed, drilling for oil and natural gas in federal waters, developing aquaculture and building wind, wave and tidal energy facilities all have the potential to damage America’s marine environment,” Pew said in a statement supporting the president’s policy.

    But some believe bureaucratic interference on such a large scale is the real threat.

    “The last thing we need is the federal government running the damn ocean and a bunch of bureaucrats running around trying to determine whether you can fish in one spot or another,” said Dan Kish, senior vice president for policy at the Institute for Energy Research.


    http://www.humanevents.com/article.php?id=50880