House GOP lawmaker presses Obama administration for ocean plan docs

The Washington Republican said he’s also concerned that the council might be too costly.

Hastings said in a Friday statement that, “This Executive Order is a unilateral, back-door maneuver by an army of bureaucrats to zone the Nation's oceans and coastal regions. … There are still significant questions about how this initiative is being funded and implemented and it’s time for answers.”

Hastings aired those worries in the letters, which he sent to the Agriculture Department, Interior Department, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the Environmental Protection Agency and the National Ocean Council.

He requested fiscal 2013 and 2014 budget proposals for the council, drafts and edits on implementation plans and email correspondence, briefing materials and other documentation.

Hastings also had questions about staffing at the National Ocean Council.

The council should explain whether environmental groups had a hand in crafting the policy recommendations, Hastings wrote to its co-chairs Nancy Sutley, who heads the White House Council on Environmental Quality, and John Holdren, who directs the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.

“[I]t is troubling that the Council has been unwilling to explain whether staff from environmental groups that have advocated in favor of the National Ocean Policy and ocean zoning have helped draft the policy itself, the draft or final implementation plan, or other Council activities,” Hastings wrote.

— This story was updated at 2:50 p.m.