Santa Cruz Good Times

Nov 26th
Text size
  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size

Town Hall with Congressman Sam Farr

SamFarrNewWhat is the “Republicans’ War on Oceans,” as you call it, and what are you and other legislators doing to uphold President Barack Obama’s National Oceans Policy and protect our oceans, overall?

Each day, our oceans are under assault from numerous threats. Around the world, acidification, rising sea levels and pollution wreak havoc on fragile ocean environments. Here in the United States, marine debris arrives on our shores daily. Just last week, a man in Rio del Mar reported finding a buoy with Japanese lettering which may have arrived from last year’s tsunami. This comes on the heels of a 40-foot Japanese dock that washed up in Oregon. These battles are a national problem that require a national solution.

Just as we need a national policy to address these daily battles occurring up and down our shores, our oceans face a threat on a new front. This new battle is not taking place on the coast or at sea, instead it is being waged in the halls of Congress. Led by Tea Party conservatives, Republicans in Congress have launched a war on our oceans.

Through a coordinated attack on President Obama’s National Ocean Policy, House Republicans have waged this war on our oceans by hijacking the appropriation process, using it to defund any oceans research, education or governance programs. This war is most apparent in the continued budget cuts to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) ocean and coastal programs.

Since 2010, NOAA’s ocean and coastal programs have experienced a 14 percent reduction across the board. Last year, I was able to restore some of that funding for essential programs. Unfortunately, this year Tea Party Republicans have returned with an axe—chopping away again at these vital programs.

For instance, Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) pushed through bipartisan legislation that would reinvest fines levied against BP for their violations during the Deepwater Horizon spill. The funds would be used for a National Endowment for the Oceans. House Republicans removed this common sense provision before final passage of the bill, killing the opportunity to use these fines to establish long-term ocean restoration efforts.

The motives of our opponents in this effort are misguided. This new policy is not about new regulations. Instead, it creates mechanisms to coordinate programs across different federal agencies—through bottom-up, regionally based structures. National Ocean Policy creates healthy oceans through increased government efficiency, not additional bureaucracy.

This policy was developed by both Republican and Democratic administrations. This new direction was needed after two bipartisan commissions raised a red flag about the state of our oceans.

Here in California, sound marine policy is not just about preserving the environment, it is about preserving our way of life. The Central Coast’s economy is tied to the health of our oceans—ours is truly a blue economy.  Millions of visitors come to our region each year to take in the natural beauty, injecting dollars into the local economy. 

We can all see the positive impact oceans have on our economy as we celebrate the grand opening of the National Marine Sanctuary Visitor Center this week. This 12,000 square-foot facility will welcome visitors to the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. Created in 1992, this sanctuary protects 276 miles of coastline for research, education and public use.   

But you cannot save the oceans by saving just one coastline. We need a united effort between all government agencies, across state and federal lines, to ensure we protect them for future generations. What we need is the President’s National Ocean Policy.

This battle is not going to be won or lost in just one session of Congress.  Led by the President, ocean leaders here in Congress will fight back to ensure the implementation of the National Ocean Policy.

For the health of our oceans it is time for Republicans to end this ill-conceived war on our oceans.

Comments (2)Add Comment
written by Marsha H., July 26, 2012
I agree with Floyd. This "Big Government Act" of NOAA is going to further choke the freedom of the people and fishermen. You have to watch the actions and words of this particular Representative....they will lead us down the wrong path. The earth is strong and has survived and mended itself like it has for thousands of years. It regurgitates junk and heals it's waters. Republicans are trying to keep these Socialists under control and keep them from taking away our freedoms. This Representative is still a representative of the Government to the people, not the other way around.
written by Floyd Van de Vere, July 25, 2012
This is just another example of our Socialist Congressman pushing for Big Government takeover of our oceans while taking away the freedom of fishermen and citizens. Don't be fooled by his statement that this is not regulation. It is regulation overseen by the Department of Commerce. That is why ordinary citizens who live by the oceans are so up-in-arms about the NOAA. This is no Republican War on the Oceans, it is Socialist War on America.

Write comment
smaller | bigger


Share this on your social networks

Bookmark and Share

Share this

Bookmark and Share


Santa Cruz Gives

A look at the organizations we’re asking you to support in our new holiday giving campaign


Gratitude—For Each New Morning With its Light

The full moon of Wednesday brings light to Thanksgiving (Thursday) under the Sagittarius Sun and Mercury. Mercury in Sag offers humanity the message (Mercury) of thankfulness and joy (Jupiter). No other sign represents food, music and joy better than Sagittarius (only Pisces, when not in despair). Beginning on Thanksgiving, we can list what we’re grateful for. Then we can continue the list, creating a daily Gratitude Journal. What we are grateful for always increases in our lives. On Thanksgiving Saturn/Neptune square (challenging) is in full effect. This can manifest as traditions not being honored, disappearing, falling away. It can also create a sense of sadness, confusion, of things not working out as planned. It’s best to be as simple as possible. And to focus on gratitude instead. Gratitude is a service to others. It is scientifically and occultly a releasing agent. Releasing us from the past, allowing our future—the new culture and civilization, the new Aquarian laws and principles, the rising light of Aquarius, the Age of Friendship and Equality—to come forth. Gratitude and goodwill create the “thought-form of solution for humanity and the world’s problems.” The hierarchy lays great emphasis upon expressing gratitude. Gratitude illuminates all that is in darkness. Let us be grateful during this season together. Being, for others, the light that illuminates the darkness. A Poem by R.W. Emerson: We are grateful … “For each new morning with its light/For rest and shelter of the night/For health and food/For love and friends/For everything thy goodness sends.” (poem by R.W. Emerson). I am grateful for my family of readers.


The New Tech Nexus

Community leaders in science and technology unite to form web-based networking program


Pluck of the Irish

Mid-century immigrant tale engagingly told in ‘Brooklyn’
Sign up for Good Times weekly newsletter
Get the latest news, events

RSS Feed Burner

 Subscribe in a reader

Latest Comments


Second Street Café

Pies and tarts for all tastes—from traditional to adventurous


How are you preparing for El Niño?

Getting ready to buy some rain gear. Cory Pickering, Santa Cruz, Teaching Assistant


Fortino Winery

Cabernet and superb fruit wine from Fortino Winery


Tap Dance

West End Tap & Kitchen’s impressive menu to expand to Eastside location