Trump’s ocean policy will protect the economy

Trump’s ocean policy will protect the economy
© UPI Photo

With the signing of an executive order on ocean policy, President TrumpDonald TrumpMyPillow CEO to pull ads from Fox News Haaland, Native American leaders press for Indigenous land protections Simone Biles, Vince Lombardi and the courage to walk away MORE last week took an important step forward in securing lasting benefits from the nation’s oceans, coasts, and Great Lakes for all Americans. 

By acting to promote our country’s economy, security, and environment, the federal government has embraced principles on which we can all agree while removing a significant cloud of uncertainty that has been hovering over communities and businesses throughout the country, all without sacrificing safety or the environment. 

Our new ocean policy recognizes and enhances the critical role that our oceans and coasts play in America’s economy, national security, culture, health, and well-being. The policy will promote more coordinated data and information sharing under existing authorities. It’s a return to core, science-based agency activities, the advancement of ocean science and technology. This policy furthers increased understanding of the resources and benefits that oceans can and do provide to our nation, and will facilitate interagency and inter-jurisdictional collaboration. It offers the promise of partnerships within and among the public and private sectors and engagement with commercial and recreational groups that help drive our ocean economy.


Since the National Ocean Policy Executive Order was issued in 2010, a wide range of interests that represent a broad cross-section of the U.S. economy have had to contend with new bureaucracies. It created significant uncertainty regarding impacts of the policy on their ability to operate, and actions that could needlessly prohibit, limit, or delay access to public lands owned by the nation’s taxpayers, all to the detriment of the American people. 

Sectors ranging from recreational and commercial fishing, boating, and shipping to agriculture (yes, even inland groups were subject to potential impacts), energy, and others were forced to allocate resources toward confronting a new and unnecessary bureaucratic maze. Those resources could otherwise have been directed toward efforts to create ocean and coastal-related jobs and economic and recreational opportunities in communities across the nation. 

Over the last eight years, groups representing these sectors asked for relief from this governmental labyrinth and for a better, more sustainable way forward when it comes to ocean policy. That relief is now in place.

Removing the burdens associated with the 2010 policy paves the way for smarter, more streamlined policy for our oceans, coasts, and Great Lakes. These waters provide a major contribution to the nearly 56 million jobs and $8.3 trillion in economic activity generated in coastal communities. Now the United States can move ahead to further cement global leadership and competitiveness when it comes to our economy, security, environment, and societal well-being.

The executive order issued last week is an action worthy of the support of the broad ocean stakeholder community and all Americans. 

It will help ensure a reasonable, transparent, multi-use, and effective ocean policy within the existing statutory framework, setting the nation on a course toward a future in which the American people can continue to receive the diverse array of economic, recreational, and societal benefits that our oceans, coasts, and Great Lakes provide for generations to come. 

Jack Belcher is managing director of the pro-industry National Ocean Policy Coalition.