Statement on President Trump’s Executive Order and the Future of Ocean Security

June 20, 2018

Washington, DC— On June 19, President Trump signed an executive order that dissolved the National Ocean Policy which was established in July 2010. Sally Yozell, Director of the Stimson Center’s Environmental Security Program, releases the following statement on how the executive order undermines efforts to protect the ocean that uphold the environmental, economic, food, and national security interests of the United States.

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“With the stroke of a pen, President Trump has put coastal communities across America at risk. By rescinding the National Ocean Policy, which balanced both conservation and sustainable blue economy goals, these policy change threatens the very fabric of ocean security. By shifting emphasis away from a more balanced approach, this Administration jeopardizes environmental, food, and economic security of U.S. citizens, and ultimately, U.S. national security interests.

Moreover, the executive order removes any mention and prioritization of understanding and addressing the effects of climate change on the ocean and its related communities. Even as climate change is scrapped from the record, American businesses, military, and coastal communities still remain under threat of its effects, including:    

  • U.S. Naval facilities and operations continue to be undermined by increasing sea level rise;
  • U.S. shellfish farmers face greater financial and livelihood risks due to ocean acidification;
  • Offshore energy production and coastal tourism are under threat from increased severe storms and flooding;
  • Fishing communities will suffer from dwindling catch as ecosystems shift and move away from traditional fishing grounds.

The decision to abolish the National Ocean Policy will undermine ocean conservation efforts that incorporated thousands of hours of listening sessions with coastal communities, industries, academia, and the conservation community. The actions taken by the Trump Administration loses sight of the balance that was established between economic, environmental, and national security interests.”

-Sally Yozell, Director, Environmental Security Program, Stimson Center

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Note to Editors

The Stimson Center is a nonpartisan policy research center working to protect people, preserve the planet, and promote security and prosperity.

Sally Yozell is a Senior Associate and Director of the Environmental Security program at the Stimson Center. Yozell’s research examines the links between environmental crime and global security issues — with a focus on combatting Illegal Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fishing and wildlife trafficking; identifying innovative technologies to fight IUU fishing in Marine Protected Areas; and tracking transnational organized crime as well as natural resources theft. Prior to joining Stimson, Yozell was a Senior Advisor to Secretary of State, John Kerry and the Under Secretary of State for Economic Growth, Energy and Environment — where she provided advice and technical expertise to advance U.S. policies in the international arena related to ocean, coast, climate, and wildlife protection.