Federal task force seeks to set policies for fishing and access

It seems as though our government wants to interfere and control -- for lack of better words -- in far too many aspects of our lives. New York’s recently announced plans to close or curtail services in a bunch of our state parks. Now the federal government seems intent on telling us how we can utilize our nation’s waters, fresh and salt, as well as public and private, using a United Nations model as the idea core. The Obama administration has ended public input for a federal strategy that could prohibit U.S. citizens from fishing some of the nation's oceans, coastal areas, Great Lakes, and even some other inland waters.

The feds established the Interagency Ocean Policy Task Force that was charged with “developing a recommendation for a national policy that ensures protection, maintenance, and restoration of oceans, our coasts and the Great Lakes.” It will also recommend a framework for improved stewardship, and effective coastal and marine spatial planning. Shortly after the announcement, Bill Cassidy (LA-06) and 67 bipartisan Members of Congress sent a letter to Nancy Sutley, Chairwoman of the President’s Interagency Ocean Policy Task Force, expressing concerns that the Task Force’s Interim Report is not balanced and could be used to block offshore energy development and job creation.

“On the whole, this report reflects an ideology that is at odds with American energy independence and job creation in the energy economy,” said Rep. Cassidy. “Responsible stewardship of our oceans and the responsible use of ocean resources are not conflicting aims. We don’t have to choose one or the other.” This writer also questions how any such policies could be enforced on foreign users of the waters. After all, regulations and laws don’t apply to the “crooks” that ignore them. Sadly, it seems that Washington just keeps coming up with one new tax-eating bureaucracy after another.

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