Ocean Currents » Obama administration http://blog.oceanconservancy.org News, opinions, photos and facts from Ocean Conservancy Tue, 25 Apr 2017 13:47:57 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.4.2 An Ocean of Thanks to YOU http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2016/11/23/an-ocean-of-thanks-to-you/ http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2016/11/23/an-ocean-of-thanks-to-you/#comments Wed, 23 Nov 2016 16:10:35 +0000 Janis Searles Jones http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/?p=13363

The following message is from Janis Searles Jones, President, and Andreas Merkl, CEO.

This has been such a great year for the ocean, and I have you to thank for it. Protecting the ocean is a BIG job, and we can’t do it without people like you.

You’ve put in so much effort all year, that I want to take a moment to reflect on what we’ve accomplished together, celebrate our victories and look forward to the work still to be done.

Thanks to your hard work and support, here’s a taste of the incredible victories we’ve accomplished in 2016:

Hundreds of thousands of volunteers like you, all around the world, took part in our 31st annual International Coastal Cleanup. From the coastlines of the Philippines to the rivers of Pennsylvania, ocean lovers walked tens of thousands of miles and collected millions of pounds of trash, making our coastlines cleaner and healthier. And we have a plan to help cut the amount of plastic entering our ocean in half over the coming decade, so I hope I can continue to count on your support to help make that vision a reality.

Thanks to the support of ocean advocates (like you!), President Obama established two marine monuments: Papahānaumokuākea Monument—the world’s largest marine sanctuary—in Hawaii, and the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument in New England. In just the span of a few weeks, Obama protected more U.S. waters than any other president in history. Together, we can ensure that these areas remain protected from special interests.

In the same year that Shell announced its withdrawal from oil and gas leases in the Chukchi Sea, the Obama administration just announced it will remove the Chukchi and Beaufort Seas—as well as the Atlantic Ocean—from risky offshore drilling until 2022. Exclusion of the Arctic in the five-year plan means critical protection for the communities and animals that call the region home. But with oil and gas companies still eyeing the Arctic, we’ll need your continued support to keep this fragile area protected.

After six years of hard work and boots on the ground in the Gulf, BP finally agreed to pay more than $20 billion to the American people to help recover from the impacts caused by the Deepwater Horizon oil disaster. Now, scientists are working to make sure that money is well spent on restoration and monitoring projects to bring the Gulf back to a healthy state.

Revolutionary new ocean plans in the New England and the Mid-Atlantic regions made history by paving the way for smart ocean management. These plans brought together the needs of many, many stakeholders and will help us best manage our ocean resources for humans and the environment alike. With your help, we’ll work toward implementing these plans and expanding them to other regions.

Together, we celebrated the 40th anniversary of the Magnuson-Stevens Act, a fisheries management act that is largely responsible for the strong state of our nation’s fisheries. You’ve helped us keep the Magnuson-Stevens Act strong, and our nation’s fish populations are healthier because of it. I hope I can continue to count on your support to make sure we have healthy fish populations for generations to come.

The United States took critical action to increase protection around the ecologically rich Aleutian Islands in the Bering Sea. 160,000 square miles of ocean surrounding the islands have been protected as Areas to Be Avoided. Now, the Aleutian Islands, along with the wildlife and peoples who call them home, are safer from shipping accidents.

Ocean acidification is becoming more and more widely recognized as a problem both locally and internationally. We’re now calling on leaders worldwide to protect coastal communities and businesses at risk from acidification. And more than 18,000 people like you have signed Our Ocean Pledge to add your name to the effort—thank you!

All of these amazing ocean victories have one thing in common: YOU. I can’t thank you enough for your dedication and commitment to a healthy ocean. I want to express my sincerest gratitude for your support, and thank you for your commitment to our ocean. While there is a lot of uncertainty in the air, one thing remains true. The ocean is at the heart of all we do, and we need you to be effective ocean advocates. I hope I can continue to count on you as we continue to work tirelessly for our ocean in the coming months and years.

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Breaking News: Obama Puts the Brakes on Risky Arctic Drilling http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2016/11/18/breaking-news-obama-puts-the-brakes-on-risky-arctic-drilling/ http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2016/11/18/breaking-news-obama-puts-the-brakes-on-risky-arctic-drilling/#comments Fri, 18 Nov 2016 18:57:46 +0000 Andrew Hartsig http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/?p=13355

I have some really uplifting news to share with you from the Arctic! The Obama administration has decided to remove Beaufort Sea and Chukchi Sea leases from the 2017-2022 Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing Program. This means that companies will not be able to obtain the right to drill in pristine and vulnerable Arctic waters.

The decision protects wildlife living in the Arctic (and found nowhere else on Earth)—like polar bears, bearded seals, walruses and bowhead whales. It also ensures that offshore drilling in the Arctic won’t contribute to climate change in a region that’s already warming at twice the rate of the rest of the world.

More than 50,000 ocean supporters spoke up and took action on behalf of the Arctic Ocean over the summer and fall—and our voices were heard!

Please join me in saying thank you to President Obama for taking action to protect the Arctic.

Offshore drilling is risky, and in the Arctic, it’s as dangerous as dangerous gets. A major oil spill in the remote and icy waters of the Arctic would be all but impossible to clean up. In fact, there is very little infrastructure and very few resources to support a cleanup effort. An oil spill at the top of the world would be a disaster for the people and wildlife who depend on a healthy Arctic Ocean for survival.

We can’t risk a disaster in the Arctic. That’s why this victory is so important!

I’m thankful to the Obama Administration for putting the brakes on risky offshore drilling and protecting our Arctic waters. Tell President Obama that you’re thankful, too!

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The Future: Arctic Five-Year Plan http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2016/10/18/the-future-arctic-five-year-plan/ http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2016/10/18/the-future-arctic-five-year-plan/#comments Tue, 18 Oct 2016 14:59:59 +0000 Andrew Hartsig http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/?p=13139 We have less than a month to keep the Arctic Ocean safe from offshore drilling.

Right now, President Obama is preparing a new five-year leasing plan, and it could allow risky oil and gas leasing to go forward in the Arctic Ocean. We can’t let that happen.

Can I count on you to help protect the Arctic?

The future of the Arctic will be determined in these next few weeks. Offshore drilling is risky, and in the Arctic it’s as dangerous as dangerous gets. A major oil spill in the remote and icy waters of the Arctic would be all but impossible to clean up. In fact, there’s virtually no infrastructure or adequate resources for a cleanup. It would be a danger to not only the people and response teams involved, but a threat to this fragile ecosystem.

The answer is simple: We can’t risk a disaster in the Arctic. That’s why we need you.
Will you join Ocean Conservancy in asking the Obama Administration to exclude Arctic lease sales from the final version of the five-year plan?

The time to act is now. The Administration needs to know this issue is important to you!

Until we can ensure the safety of wildlife and the ocean ecosystem, we can’t afford to include Arctic leasing in the five-year plan. Arctic wildlife like polar bears, bowhead whales and walruses are found nowhere else on Earth. It’s up to us to protect their Arctic home from the dangers of offshore drilling.

Take action for the Arctic. Ask President Obama to keep Arctic leasing off the five year-plan.

Please take five minutes to stand up for five years in the Arctic.

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We Made History. Again. http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2016/09/15/we-made-history-again/ http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2016/09/15/we-made-history-again/#comments Thu, 15 Sep 2016 04:01:28 +0000 Jeff Watters http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/?p=12856

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.

Join us in applauding the Obama Administration for permanently protecting one of the most unique places in the Atlantic.


The New England Canyons and Seamounts represent some of the most astounding and diverse underwater ecosystems in the Atlantic. Located about 150 miles southeast of Cape Cod, the canyons are carved thousands of feet down into the edge of the continental shelf, where it drops off into the ocean depths.  Further out, the seamounts rise thousands of feet up from the ocean bottom, towering underwater mountains.

This incredible geologic diversity creates a unique hotspot for all kinds of species, many of which we are just now discovering. In 2013, a single research expedition discovered 24 deepwater coral species and three fishes that were previously unknown in the region.

The region is also home to whales, dolphins and a host of other species. Protecting this spectacular region means these animals can thrive for generations to come.

With these two announcements bridging sea-to-shining-sea, the United States has shown itself to be a leader in marine conservation. Let’s keep up the momentum.

Thank President Obama for making marine protection a priority from the Atlantic to the Pacific.

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Breaking News: Offshore Drilling Moves Forward in Arctic; Atlantic Spared http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2016/03/15/breaking-news-offshore-drilling-moves-forward-in-arctic-atlantic-spared/ http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2016/03/15/breaking-news-offshore-drilling-moves-forward-in-arctic-atlantic-spared/#comments Tue, 15 Mar 2016 20:39:30 +0000 Andrew Hartsig http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/?p=11677

Today, the Obama Administration issued a proposed offshore leasing program that contains some good news and some bad news.

First the good news: the Administration’s proposed program will protect the Atlantic Ocean from oil and gas leasing until 2022.

Last year, the Administration signaled that it was considering opening the Atlantic Ocean from Florida to Virginia to risky offshore oil drilling. Federal waters in the Atlantic provide vital habitat for marine mammals and fish, and support thousands of coastal communities and billions of dollars in business from fishing, tourism and more. Allowing oil leasing in the Atlantic would have opened a new frontier for drilling and jeopardized these existing uses and values. Today’s proposed program precludes leasing in the Atlantic Ocean and eliminates the threat of Atlantic drilling for years to come—a big step in the right direction for the whales and sea turtles that call the Atlantic home.

However, not all the news is good: the proposed five-year leasing program would still allow risky oil and gas leasing to go forward in the Arctic Ocean.

Last year, Shell’s Arctic drilling efforts failed and the oil industry retreated from the region. But the risks remain: offshore drilling could cause a major oil spill that would be all but impossible to clean up in remote and icy Arctic waters. On top of that, Arctic wildlife continues to face an uncertain future as the region warms and as summer sea ice retreats. For all these reasons and more, it doesn’t make sense to hold new oil and gas lease sales in the Arctic Ocean. Fortunately, there’s still time to act. Join Ocean Conservancy in asking the Obama Administration exclude Arctic lease sales from the final version of the five-year program.

In addition to the Atlantic and the Arctic, the proposed five-year program also addresses future oil and gas leasing in the Gulf of Mexico. At Ocean Conservancy, we recognize that in the Gulf of Mexico, oil and gas development continues to play an important role in providing domestic energy security, is an important source of jobs and generates significant federal and state revenue. But as drilling goes forward in the Gulf, it is vital that we work to make it as safe as possible for both people and the environment. We must invest in the development of response technology that keeps pace with the development of offshore drilling technology. We must honestly account for the risks of a worst case (or even a best case) spill scenario. And we must ensure that government revenues generated by the leasing of offshore areas are invested in environmental restoration projects that address the impacts of oil and gas drilling and increase the health and vitality of the ecosystems that millions of people rely on for their food work and play.

When it is finalized later this year, the Obama Administration’s five-year oil and gas leasing program will guide decisions about offshore drilling from 2017 until 2022. The Administration deserves praise for its decision not to allow leasing in the Atlantic Ocean. At the same time, all of us who care about the ocean need to convince the Administration that there is no place for new Arctic lease sales in the final program. Join Ocean Conservancy in saying no to risky Arctic leasing. Tell President Obama to drop Arctic leasing from the final version of the 2017 to 2022 leasing program.

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Victory! Microbeads Banned in the U.S. http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2016/01/08/victory-microbeads-banned-in-the-u-s/ http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2016/01/08/victory-microbeads-banned-in-the-u-s/#comments Fri, 08 Jan 2016 15:00:54 +0000 Nick Mallos http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/?p=11315

2016 has barely started, and we can already share a huge win for our ocean. Thanks to the support of ocean advocates like you, Congress has backed a bill banning the use of microbeads in personal care products. And just this week, President Obama signed this bill into law.

Microbeads might be tiny, but this legislation is huge. The new law means companies will phase out the sale of products containing microbeads over the next two years, and stop making personal care products with microbeads altogether by July 1, 2017.

These small plastic particles have been a staple ingredient in everyday products we use like body washes, facial scrubs and toothpastes. Since they’re too small to be filtered out by water treatment plants, they flow straight from our sinks to the ocean and into the mouths and gills of sea creatures around the world.

The ban on microbeads is a big step towards stopping plastics from entering our ocean.

This new legislation shows a growing bipartisan dedication of lawmakers to create a more sustainable ocean—a mission we can all get behind. We are proud of those who served as a voice for our ocean in Congress, and we hope this is just the start of more ocean legislation to come.

Let’s take this opportunity to thank our lawmakers for their support of this bill, and remind them how important it is to keep pushing for a healthier, more resilient ocean.

Thank you for your support. Here’s to many more ocean victories in 2016!

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Take Action for the Arctic and Atlantic http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2015/12/07/take-action-for-the-arctic-and-atlantic/ http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2015/12/07/take-action-for-the-arctic-and-atlantic/#comments Mon, 07 Dec 2015 14:30:25 +0000 Andrew Hartsig http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/?p=11187

I know I’ve shared a lot of good news about the Arctic with you lately, but the Arctic isn’t safe yet—and now the Atlantic Ocean is also at risk of being opened up to new offshore oil drilling.

That’s because the Obama Administration will soon roll out a new five-year plan that could open up offshore drilling in both the Arctic and the Atlantic—we can’t let that happen.

Take Action: Tell the Administration to leave Arctic and Atlantic offshore drilling OUT of their upcoming plan.

I want to protect Arctic and Atlantic waters from risky offshore drilling not one year at a time, but for many years to come.

We have a great opportunity to do just that: The Administration’s draft of a five-year program will guide decisions about offshore drilling until the year 2022.

The Administration has signaled that the five-year program will include new oil and gas lease sales in both the Arctic and Atlantic Oceans. I need your help once again, to help safeguard the polar bears and walruses that call the Arctic home, as well as the whales and sea turtles that call the Atlantic home.

Here’s how you can help:

Take action and tell the Secretary of the Interior to exclude Arctic and Atlantic leasing when they issue the new draft of the five-year program early next year.

We have less than two months to persuade the Administration before the new plan is rolled out, so please take action today.

It’s time to say no to risky Arctic and Atlantic leasing.

Will you please take a minute to speak up for the Arctic and Atlantic?

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