The National Ocean Policy, created by President Obama, created a number of regional planning bodies comprised of eNGOs, federal, and state entities in the hopes of establishing an organized process for ocean planning. During the week of September 21, the Mid-Atlantic Regional Planning Body convened an in-person meeting in Norfolk, VA. COA continues to monitor and take part in this process, however, it remains to be seen how effective this planning body will be. COA’s criticisms of this structure are numerous, including:
- the Mid-Atlantic RPB is co-headed by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, the federal agency in charge of permitting oil and gas drilling and wind turbine construction in the ocean
- there is no priority given to conservation of habitat
- the process itself is insulated from the general public – while many eNGOs are working within this framework, there are few opportunities for the public to engage
- this process is a top-down approach and bureaucratically structured. It is nearly impossible for the public to be involved
We will continue to stay involved in this issue and update as necessary.