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Ocean Currents

News, opinions, photos and facts from Ocean Conservancy

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About Jeff Watters

Jeff Watters is the Director of Government Relations for Ocean Conservancy.

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Trump Proposed Slashing NOAA’s Budget—Something Amazing is Happening in Response

Posted On March 20, 2017 by

We know that the Trump administration wants to cut NOAA’s budget bone-deep, proposing a nearly one-billion-dollar budget cut for America’s world-class ocean agency. But something amazing has been happening in the days since those devastating cuts were leaked to the Washington Post: People are saying “No!”

Americans are making clear that they’re not willing to stand by and let NOAA get gutted. The agency’s work is just too important. And our friends and neighbors are starting to fight back.

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A NOAA Budget that Cuts to the Bone

Posted On March 4, 2017 by

UPDATED: This blog was updated with new information on March 16, 2017

Early morning on March 16, 2017, the Trump Administration released its proposed budget—often called the skinny budget—that alarmingly confirms what The Washington Post reported about the devastating cuts for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

Today, we learned that the budget for the Department of Commerce, which houses NOAA, would be cut by $1.5 billion. While the proposal lacks some specifics about NOAA’s budget, it makes clear that at least $250 million in grants and programs that support coastal and marine management, research, and education including Sea Grant would be zeroed out. The administration recognizes that these programs primarily benefit local stakeholder, industry and state– and they are cutting it out anyway.

Based on what we already know, NOAA faces a massive overall cut of $990 million to their operating budget. Cuts on this scale aren’t just “trimming the fat” to make the agency more efficient. They’re cutting straight to the bone.

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It’s Time to Have a New Conversation About the EPA

Posted On February 17, 2017 by

Despite grave concerns from all corners about his ability to lead an agency that protects the health and quality of life of Americans, Scott Pruitt is the new administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

His nomination raised red flags from concerned citizens to worried coastal businesses. His past track record had given us at Ocean Conservancy plenty of cause for concern, made even more acute during his confirmation hearing by his lack of understanding of fundamental threats to Americans’ health and the quality of our communities. Consider his dance around the issue of ocean acidification. He refused to acknowledge carbon emissions’ impact on our coastal communities, despite the millions of dollars it has cost oyster growers in the Pacific Northwest.

But Pruitt’s confirmation isn’t where the story ends. In fact, this is where it begins.

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5 Tough Questions for Rex Tillerson, the Ocean and YOU

Posted On January 11, 2017 by

It’s a new year, and I resolve to continue championing for ocean conservation in 2017—no matter how the tides may change in Washington, D.C. Will you help me?

This week, Rex Tillerson, nominee for Secretary of State, will begin Senate confirmation hearings. As Mr. Tillerson is questioned by senators about his qualifications for the job, we want to make sure he’s asked about the ocean.

For Mr. Tillerson’s entire career, he’s worked for a single company—ExxonMobil. As Exxon’s CEO, he was obligated to work for the interests of Exxon’s shareholders.

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We Made History. Again.

Posted On September 15, 2016 by

Last month, President Obama made history by establishing the largest protected marine area ever in Hawaii.

Now, he’s at it again.

Today, President Obama announced the protection of a new marine area in New England as the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument. That means that in just a matter of weeks, Obama has protected more U.S. waters than any other president.

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5 Amazing Reasons to Love Papahānaumokuākea, Even More

Posted On September 1, 2016 by

Last week, we learned President Obama is creating the world’s largest marine protected area by expanding the Hawaiian national monument of Papahānaumokuākea! We’re excited. Seriously excited. In honor of that announcement, here are five reasons we love Papahānaumokuākea, and how its expansion just means more to love.

1. The name

While we (still) might be struggling with the pronunciation, the name Papahānaumokuākea holds rich cultural significance, meaning the union of two native ancestors in Hawaiian mythology. The name itself is a combination of the Earth Mother, Papahānaumoku, and the Sky Father, Wakea, who together created the islands and its people.

Say it with me, PAH-pa-ha-NOW-muh-kua-kay-yah.

(We’ll keep working on it)

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