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Environment

Trump rescinds Obama order on Great Lakes protections

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President Donald Trump has overridden an Obama executive order meant to protect the oceans and Great Lakes. It was written in response to the 2010 BP oil spill into the Gulf of Mexico.

Not only is there no mention of the spill in the new policy, but it references the importance of oil drilling as well as commercial fishing, shipping, and other industries.

Molly Flanagan, vice president of policy for the Alliance for the Great Lakes, says there is a federal ban on oil and gas drilling in the Great Lakes. Still, she says Trump's order, combined with his efforts to roll back Great Lakes restoration funding, is cause for concern.

"A focus on short term gains on the economic side at the expense of long term protections for the Great Lakes is really short sighted,” says Flanagan.

Jack Belcher is the managing director of the National Ocean Policy Coalition, which works to develop measures favoring offshore industries. He says this order gives industry a say in ocean and Great Lakes legislation.

“There is going to be a greater role for private entities, the private sector to be involved in this process and that’s the way it should be,” he says.

Belcher says Trump's policy also relieves businesses of unnecessary regulatory burdens and reduces confusion about regulation on the water.

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