President Clinton orders more ocean protections

With oil futures trading at about $30/bbl in the US Tuesday and natural gas futures topping $4.50/Mcf, President Bill Clinton issued an executive order that promises to further restrict drilling in US waters. The order expands the protection of coastal waters, estuaries, coastal reefs, and shorelines and directs the Environmental Protection Agency to toughen water quality standards to reduce coastal pollution.


WASHINGTON, DC�With oil futures trading at about $30/bbl in the US Tuesday and natural gas futures topping $4.50/Mcf, President Bill Clinton issued an executive order that promises to further restrict drilling in US waters. The order expands the protection of coastal waters, estuaries, coastal reefs, and shorelines and directs the Environmental Protection Agency to toughen water quality standards to reduce coastal pollution.

The Departments of Commerce and the Interior will develop a national system of managing �marine protected areas,� including areas where offshore drilling and other activities are prohibited. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration will develop a framework for managing an ocean conservation network. And the commerce and interior departments will draft a plan to protect coral reefs off the Hawaiian Islands.

The administration said the executive order will not require legislation or more spending but will improve coordination between federal agencies. Clinton said, �The old idea that we can only grow by putting more pollution into our lakes and rivers and oceans must finally be put to rest. Through fishing, tourism, and other industries, ocean resources support one out of every six jobs in the US.�

Rep. Don Young (R-Alas.), House resources committee chairman, said Congress has either approved or is close to passing legislation that achieves most of the President�s goals. He said Clinton �should work cooperatively with Congress on marine life and coastal protection instead of bypassing Congress and establishing a bureaucratic tidal wave of new regulations.

�Just as his national monument designations on land have created a flurry of protests, his actions with our oceans and coasts could create the same negative reactions,� Young said.

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