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News 2012-06-08: DEMA Responds to Undercurrent Article Regarding National Ocean Policy Implementati
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DEMA Responds to Undercurrent Article Regarding National Ocean Policy Implementation

In a recent article, Undercurrent Senior Editor Vanessa Richardson offered her opinion regarding the support DEMA provided to Representative Doc Hastings, Chair of the US House of Representatives Natural Resources Committee, on the subject of a letter written to Chairman Harold Rogers of the US House Appropriations Committee. The letter outlined concerns about the implementation of the National Ocean Policy and the lack of response from members of the National Ocean Council, a group made up of 27 Federal Agencies seeking to create a government infrastructure to develop “policy” for the control of US Federal waters. Ms. Richardson’s query was in regard to an April, 2012 media release from DEMA.
The Undercurrent article includes at least one blatant misstatement, which is clearly Ms. Richardson’s assumption. Contrary to comments stated in the article, DEMA is NOT a member of the National Ocean Policy Coalition. DEMA is also not affiliated with other groups which make up the National Ocean Policy Coalition. Rather, as is clearly stated in our responses to Ms. Richardson’s questions,
"Our comments (in the release) were in support of the letter written by Chair Doc Hastings of the House Committee on Natural Resources to Chair Harold Rogers of the House Appropriations Committee.  There may be additional areas on which DEMA agrees or differs with other organizations regarding the National Ocean Policy, but the scope of our support in this instance was for the information contained in the correspondence to Mr. Rogers."
DEMA has always supported a balanced approach to protecting diver access to locations while also protecting the aquatic environment. DEMA represents the diving industry as a member of the National Ocean Council’s Recreational Advisory Group, and has commented in writing and in person with regard to the NOP and the plan to implement it. DEMA has formed its position on the current policy and plan based on these direct interactions. 
In a February 2010 letter written to Ms. Nancy Sutley, Chair of the Interagency Ocean Policy Task Force and Chair of the White House Council on Environmental Quality, DEMA stated,
"DEMA strongly agrees with certain key components of the "Interim Framework for Effective Coastal and Marine Spatial Planning," including the need for science-based environmental stewardship practices, agency and organizational transparency, and stakeholder collaboration. We further applaud the Interagency Ocean Policy Task Force’s expressed desire for the Framework to be developed cooperatively among Federal, State, tribal, local authorities, and regional governance structures, with substantial stakeholder and public input, and the desire to include input from all user groups."
"We also strongly suggest a need for this Framework and all policies to recognize the economic value of jobs created through the responsible use of ocean, coasts, and Great Lakes, and recognize that substantial tax revenues are generated through such responsible use."
DEMA’s original comments and concerns are expressed in our Public Comments submitted to the White House DEMA has requested a retraction of the false statements in the Undercurrent article. As much of the article is comprised of Ms. Richardson’s opinions and assumptions, it is important for DEMA Members to review the actual questions posed of DEMA by Ms. Richardson, and DEMA’s written responses. There was no verbal response from DEMA to Ms. Richardson, only written questions and responses. DEMA’s responses are found in bold blue within the email trail document, which can be seen here
Like the National Ocean Policy and the NOP Implementation Plan, information on these issues is readily available for interested individuals in the diving industry. We are aware that divers are a careful and environmentally conscious group and are fully capable of researching this topic and forming educated opinions. 
The need for self-published opinion pieces without adequate research seems questionable. 
Tom Ingram
Executive Director


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