Tag Archives: President Obama

Maine lobsterman grateful for presidential pardon

A well respected midcoast fisherman who was granted clemency Monday by President Obama for a drug crime he committed more than 30 years ago says he’s pleased to close that chapter of his life. “It gives me a sense of forgiveness, is what it does,” Robert S. ‘Bob’ Baines said Wednesday morning in the driveway of his South Thomaston home, taking a break from getting a pair of motorcycles ready for winter storage. In 1986, Baines was convicted in a marijuana distribution conspiracy, netting him a six-year prison sentence. He declined Wednesday to go into detail about the crime, but said it’s a chapter he’s pleased to close out now. Dave Cousens, president of the MLA, said Wednesday he asked Baines to join 25 years ago, and that Baines has been an important part of the organization ever since. Read the rest of the story here 10:40

Executive Order — Northern Bering Sea Climate Resilience (includes typo’s!)

Barack ObamaBy the authority vested in me as the President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, including the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act, 43 U.S.C. 1331 et seq., it is hereby ordered as follows: Section 1. Purpose. As recognized in Executive Order 13689 of January 21, 2015, (Enhancing Coordination of National Efforts in the Arctic), Arctic environmental stewardship is in the national interest. In furtherance of this principle, and as articulated in the March 10, 2016, U.S.-Canada Joint Statement on Climate, Energy, and Arctic Leadership, the United States has resolved to confront the challenges of a changing Arctic by working to conserve Arctic biodiversity; support and engage Alaska Native tribes; incorporate traditional knowledge into decisionmaking; and build a sustainable Arctic economy that relies on the highest safety and environmental standards, including adherence to national climate goals. The United States is committed to achieving these goals in partnership with indigenous communities and through science-based decisionmaking. This order carries forth that vision in the northern Bering Sea region. Read the rest here 14:56

Fishing Industry faces tough times – Sam Parisi

manatthewheelUS Fishermen from all over are feeling the effects of NOAA and conservation groups that are making it very difficult for our fishing fleets on every coast. Every day there is anther obstacle for our fishermen, the most recent on the East Coast. President Obama has designated a large area of Cape Cod, the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument. I fished those waters back in the late 60,s for whiting and lobster. Fishermen depend on those deep waters for lobsters. Although the President, after up roars from the lobstermen, has given them seven years to vacate, in the end those lobstermen will lose their rich grounds. When does it end?  Every day some one else comes up with a brain storm and there are so many people out there that no idea of the effect, but think it is a good idea to protect whatever, not thinking of the harm to our fishermen. I believe the deck is stacked and our fishermen do not stand a chance to exist. We need help from our political leaders. I have heard over and over “we will help”, with good intentions but the fact remains NOAA holds all the cards. We have no say. We need political leader’s that will stand up to NOAA on our behalf, and follow through. We need help now. Here are the basic problems that need attention. Language written into MSA that would unlock the ironclad grip NOAA has on the “best available science” and accept other independent scientific data. SK Grant money needs to be removed from NOAA. Senator Sullivan of Alaska has such a bill pending and finally our fishermen should not have to pay for monitoring that is NOAA’s responsibility. Thanks for listing. Sam Parisi, Proud to be a fishermen. 19:24

How a ‘rogue’ environmental group transformed (HIJACKED) American fisheries

One of the nation’s largest environmental groups — bankrolled with $50 million from the heirs to the Walmart fortune — has spent millions of dollars pushing a wholesale change in how the U.S. manages its fisheries, an AL.com investigation reveals. Critics blame the Environmental Defense Fund effort for hurting fishing communities on every coast, from Kake, Alaska, and Gloucester, Mass., to Bayou La Batre, Alabama. The group has pushed a system that turns the right to catch a pound of fish into a private commodity that can be bought and sold like a share of stock on Wall Street. The government then gives these shares to individual commercial fishermen, granting them the right to catch that fish, or lease or sell the right to catch it to another fisherman. EDF gained unprecedented access to the levers of power in 2008 when President Obama appointed the vice-chair of EDF’s board – Jane Lubchenko — as the head of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which manages the nation’s fish stocks. Once in power, Lubchenko, a respected but little known fisheries professor in Washington State, enacted a national catch share policy that mirrored EDF’s longtime goals. Read this story. Read the story here 09:21

Battle over Cashes Ledge and Seamounts continues between fishermen, environmentalists

map-boundaries2-1066Despite the Obama administration’s declaration that Cashes Ledge has been taken off the table as a possible location for a marine national monument, the divisive issue of the monuments continues to percolate nationally between fishermen and conservationists. From Hawaii to New England, the lines are clearly drawn. Conservation groups have sustained a steady lobbying campaign to convince President Obama to employ the Antiquities Act to create new marine national monuments in the waters around Cashes Ledge, about 80 miles off Gloucester, and the seamounts off southern New England and Monterey, California. “We’re pushing as hard as we can with elected officials and the White House on those areas that have been identified and confirmed by the scientific community as being of great interest,” Peter Shelley, interim president and senior counsel at the Conservation Law Foundation, said of two New England areas. “These areas need permanent protection and this is not going to go away as a priority for us.” “This is not going to go away as a priority for us,” Shelley said. “It is not going to change with (presidential) administrations.” Read the story here 08:17

Sandy Smith: California Marine monument plan threatens local fishing industry

Sandy-SmithA new proposal being circulated among lawmakers hopes to convince President Obama to use his executive power to designate seamounts — underwater mountains — as marine monuments off the coast of California. On the surface, that may sound like a good idea, but a deeper review of the proposal reveals that it threatens to curtail commercial fisheries as well — and that’s not good for Ventura County. Commercial fishing operations based at the Port of Hueneme, Channel Islands Harbor in Oxnard and the Ventura Harbor serve as foundations of our local economy. Our local fishermen and fish processors rely on these extremely productive fishing grounds, including seamounts, to produce millions of pounds of seafood every year, including tuna, mackerel and market squid. Closure of these areas to fishing would inflict serious harm to the industry and our communities. Read the rest here 14:59

Can 1,500 Scientists All Be Wrong urging Obama to expand Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument?

Director Kewalo Marine Lab Robert Richmond PhD2More than 1,500 scientists from around the world have signed a letter urging President Obama to use his executive authority to expand Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands. “There is a growing consensus among marine scientists that 30% of the oceans be set aside for adequate protection against human exploitation, yet only two percent presently benefits from full protection,” the letter said. The group said expanding the monument from the current 50-mile boundary to the full 200-mile allowable limit as proposed would be a “substantial step in the right direction, creating the largest reserve in the world.” Read the scientists’ letter to the president, along with a list of everyone who signed it. Read the rest here 09:00

California fishing groups unite to fight offshore monuments that prohibit commercial fishing

untitled california seamountJuly 7, 2016 — A collection of more than 40 West Coast commercial and recreational fishing groups, working in conjunction with the National Coalition for Fishing Communities, has written to the White House, the Secretaries of Commerce and Interior, and officials in the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, opposing the proposed designation of marine monuments off the coast of California that prohibit commercial fishing…The letter is in direct response to a recent proposal calling on President Obama to declare virtually all (SRB’s) off the California coast as National Monuments using his executive authority under the Antiquities Act. Read the rest hereRead the letter here 16:28

Antiquities Act abuse heads East – U.S. Rep. Rob Bishop (R-Utah)

ObamaSome say cultural trends start on the West Coast and make their way East, but one trend moving eastward is bad news for New Englanders. In my home state of Utah, the federal government owns 65 percent of the land. That is a problem. In the waning days of his administration, President Clinton compounded the problem by mandating the Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument. With virtually no local support, he locked up 1.7 million acres of Utah, an area larger than some states. This monument designation was an abuse of the Antiquities Act. Passed in 1906, the Antiquities Act was originally intended for presidents to quickly prevent looting of archaeological sites. The executive power exercised under the Antiquities Act has grown far beyond the original purpose.,, The same story threads throughout the West, most recently in February when President Obama — who has designated the highest acreage of national monument land and water of any U.S. president — designated three different national monuments in the California desert. Now the president has his sights set on New England fisheries off the coast of Cape Cod. Read the rest here 08:46

Peter Apo: Obama Should Say No To Expanded Marine Monument

President Obama is considering a request to more than quadruple the size of the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands to 580,000 square miles – an area as large as the states of Texas, California and Montana. If Obama takes this step, the federal government essentially would assert control over hundreds of thousands of miles of ocean around Hawaii with no public discussion. According to the Antiquities Act of 1906, the trigger to designate an area as a national monument is simply the president’s signature. No discussion required — not by Congress, not by state government and not by citizens who rely on the targeted geo-cultural area. Read the story here 16:11

Dear President Obama – Opposed to expanding Papahanaumokuakea marine monument, Isaac and Shyla Moon, Kalaheo

fisherman-obamaA group of seven Hawaii residents (William Aila, Kamanaopono Crabbe, Isaac Harp, Kekuewa Kikiloi, Marvin Kaleo Manuel, Victoria Holt Takamine, Nainoa Thompson) recently wrote you a letter asking you to expand the current Papahanaumokuakea National Marine Monument in Hawaii, from 50 miles to 200 miles. There are no clear promises that the expansion will not encroach middle banks and the buoys that many of Kauai’s fishermen go to. Over the past five years we have attended numerous meetings and hearings. The overall feeling from our community is that we’re being overrun and taken advantage of by the government, regardless of existing state management policies and regulations. Read the rest here 11:48

Hawaii Lawmakers To Obama: Don’t Grow Marine Monument

Papahanaumokuakea Marine National MonumentAmid the flurry of final votes on hundreds of bills last week, Hawaii lawmakers privately weighed whether to sign a letter to President Obama that Rep. James Tokioka was circulating during the last few days of the legislative session. The letter called on the president not to consider expanding the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands Marine National Monument, stating that “there is no scientific justification or conservation benefit in doing so.” In all, 30 House lawmakers, including Speaker Joe Souki, signed the May 3 letter. Just days earlier, Hawaii Senate President Ron Kouchi sent Obama a nearly identical one. This opposition, which lawmakers kept out of public view, has been overshadowed by a strong public push to expand the monument, officially designated by President George W. Bush as Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument in 2007. Read the rest here 08:27

Eric Hansen – Atlantic marine monument would harm fisheries

fisherman-obamaWith President Obama leaving office in less than a year, environmental groups have urged him to once again use executive authority via the Antiquities Act to declare a new marine national monument, this time in the Atlantic Ocean. Such a proposal, which circumvents all established rules and procedures, is fundamentally undemocratic, and would put a stranglehold on the commercial fishing industry. A presidential declaration of a new national marine monument would result in potentially thousands of acres of prime fishing ground being closed off to fishermen. This would lead directly to increased costs for seafood processors, restaurants, and yes, seafood consumers. All of this will be done through a process that solicited little public input or stakeholder engagement and disregards the current, successful management process. Read the op-ed here 08:26

Editorial: ‘Monument’ plan dries up

It turns out there are limits to how far even the Obama administration will go to please the green lobby. The White House has opted not to designate an area of the Atlantic off Cape Ann as a national monument, which would have closed it to commercial fishing and activities such as oil or gas exploration or extraction — permanently. Gov. Charlie Baker last fall had written to President Obama of his objections to the pending national monument designation for Cashes Ledge and a second area known as the New England Canyons and Seamounts, largely because of the unilateral nature of the decision. Some members of the state’s congressional delegation had also raised concerns. Read the rest, Click here 09:14

Editorial: Drowning in regulations

no_bullshit_hardhat_sticker-r292a06754eb14e5d84d299ecaac82d10_v9waf_8byvr_512President Obama is poised to designate two large areas off the New England coast as national marine “monuments,” to the delight of conservationists who seem much more interested in protecting the ocean than they are in protecting people. Gov. Charlie Baker has written to President Obama to express concern about the impact on the region’s fishermen if the federal government turns part of the New England coastline into a sort of undersea museum — one that only scientists are likely ever to lay eyes on. Baker in his letter raises reasonable concerns about the process — or lack thereof — that led to this point. Read the rest here 12:00

Baker to Obama: Monument plan contrary to regional ocean planning

Governor Charlie Baker today directly addressed his concerns to President Obama about the potential designation of one or more National Marine Monuments off the coast of New England, saying the process has lacked stakeholder involvement and threatens to undermine existing fishery management systems. The Obama administration, under significant pressure by environmental groups, is considering using the Antiquities Act to unilaterally designate areas of deep-sea canyons and seamounts — and possibly an area on Cashes Ledge,,, Read the rest here 08:22

Fishermen in the Northeast win a small victory

duncey peteAccording to Climate Wire, an online publication of Environment and Energy Publishing LLC, New Bedford native son Bob Vanasse uncovered, through the use of Freedom of Information Act requests on behalf of Saving Seafood in Washington, D.C., a cluster of emails being circulated among several environmental groups hoping the president would be convinced to announce the New England monuments in Chile. The emails urged recipients to keep the plan a secret. “I hope no one is talking about Chile to the outside world,” an email from Conservation Law Foundation Interim President Peter Shelley said. Read the rest here 09:49

Three Maine Lobsterman Organizations weigh in on Cashes Ledge Monument Proposal

The Maine Lobstermen’s Association, Downeast Lobstermen’s Association and cashes ledge closed are weighing in, along with groups from other states, on the new National Marine Monument proposed for Cashes Ledge and the New England Canyons in the Gulf of Maine. “To unilaterally allow such a designation would usurp the established habitat and fisheries management public process and could be economically catastrophic not only to the commercial and charter fishermen but also to hundreds of small coastal communities in New England,” Read the rest here 11:18:08

Trans-Pacific Partnership – Obama’s ugly show of presidential petulance

When the going got tough, Barack got in a huff, and then he got gruff. President Obama has worked himself into such a tizzy over the TPP that he’s lashing out at his progressive friends in Congress. He’s mad because they refuse to be stereotypical lemmings, following him over this political cliff called the Trans-Pacific Partnership. It masquerades as a “free trade agreement,” but such savvy and feisty progressive senators as Sherrod Brown, Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren have ripped off the mask, revealing that TPP is not free, not about trade and not anything that the American people would ever agree to. Read the rest here 09:24

Federal Offshore Leasing: Another ‘No’ For Energy – Robert Bradley Jr.

Obama BPIs the Department of the Interior’s new offshore energy proposal a long-needed step toward unlocking the public domain’s vast oil and gas resources? After all, the five-year plan would authorize 14 leases for oil and gas development, mostly off of the Southeast Atlantic and Gulf coasts, which led to fussing from the Don’t Drill, Baby, Don’t Drill lobby. Read the rest here 19:52

Guest: Pacific Island fishing culture is under attack – Edwin Ebisui Jr. and Kitty Simonds

No FishingThe president’s final action, announced on Sept. 25, formally proclaimed 490,000 square miles of these waters as part of the PRIMNM. This modification reduced, but did not remove, the harm to our fishermen and communities who depend on these waters for their livelihoods and sustenance and to supply legal, reported and regulated seafood to U.S. consumers. Read the rest here 08:19

PRIMNM Town Hall Listening Session: Strong Opposition to Proposed Monument Expansion

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Stakeholders Laud Senator Murkowski’s Legislation Pushing Back Against Presidential “Fiat”

“My legislation is designed to ensure that our oceans are not locked away with a stroke of the President’s pen,” Murkowski said. “The continued foreclosure of our lands and waters threatens economic activities from fishing to exploration for oil and natural gas.” GO LISA!!!! Read more here 17:26

Pacific fishing interests oppose Obama’s plan to expand marine reserve – I mean, What the Hell is an Extra 700,000 Square Miles anyway?!!!

“Fishing for tunas mean there are fewer tunas,” Norse said in an interview, adding that the millions of seabirds that nest and forage in the area depend on the area’s tuna population. “We would like there to be more tunas in this ecosystem, because they play an important role in that ecosystem.” Must be seabirds eat tuna!  Read more here 16:51

Whaling and the death penalty: US accused of hypocrisy – Iceland shunned at Kerry’s Ocean Palooza

A SENIOR Icelandic government minister has hit back at American criticism of his country on whaling by saying the US was in no position to talk while it continued to execute people, including innocent victims. Finance Minister, Bjarni Benediktsson, said the US should not take the moral high ground while the death penalty remained in many states. Read more here 13:14

Obama will propose vast expansion of Pacific Ocean marine sanctuary

baby fishermanThe announcement — details of which were provided to The Washington Post — is part of a broader push on maritime issues by an administration that has generally favored other environmental priorities. The oceans effort, led by Secretary of State John F. Kerry and White House counselor John D. Podesta, is likely to spark a new political battle with Republicans over the scope of Obama’s executive powers. More here 05:20

The Honeymoon is over – corporate enviros breaking with the administration over its energy policy

kevinhearnThe rift — reflected in a letter sent to President Obama by 18 groups including the Sierra Club, the Environmental Defense Fund and Earthjustice — signals that the administration is under pressure to confront the fossil fuel industry or risk losing support from a critical part of its political base during an already difficult election year. Read [email protected] 19:58

Another Big Green power player moves up in Obama’s Washington

President Obama this week nominated Rhea Sun Suh to be the Department of the Interior’s assistant secretary for fish and wildlife and parks, a move that has brought shudders to ranchers, miners, timber harvesters and energy workers nationwide, particularly in the West. Who is Rhea Sun Suh ? [email protected]  15:07

Editorial: Fishermen’s plight shows need for urgent fed response

gdt iconIt’s now been 10 months since the Department of Commerce’s then-Acting Secretary, the very aptly-named Rebecca Blank,,,,It’s been months since officials up to and including Gov. Deval Patrick pressed the White House to issue the needed executive order that could have eased the dire catch limits clamped on the fishing industry by NOAA Northeast Regional Administrator John Bullard that have, based on questionable science documentation, driven Gloucester’s and New England’s fishermen to their knees.,,,And for what it’s worth, it’s even been six weeks since Gloucester’s own Frances Ferrante, mother of state Rep. Ann-Margaret Ferrante, got the chance at a Sen. Ed Markey rally to tell President Obama face-to-face, “we need you to help our fishermen in Gloucester, Massachusetts.” [email protected]

You know we will,” the president responded.

Gloucester Mayor Carolyn Kirk eyes plan for fishing ‘transition’

gdt iconThe fishing industry, its advocates in Congress, notably Rep John Tierney, whose district includes Gloucester. Attorney General Martha Coakley and Gov. Deval Patrick have carried out an escalating effort to obtain federal fisheries disaster relief for the fleet — at a price tag $100 million — but have been unable to win the support of President Obama. A direct appeal by the governor to Valeria Jarrett, a senior White House advisor to the president, fell on deaf ears. continued