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Trump signs executive order greenlighting ‘corporate takeover of our oceans while they hope we aren’t paying attention’ | #corporatesecurity | #businesssecurity | #


President Donald Trump issued an executive order
late Thursday that environmentalists warned will accelerate the
corporate exploitation of oceans by relaxing regulations on and
streamlining the construction of industrial offshore aquaculture
facilities, which critics deride as “floating factory farms” that pump
pollution and diseases into public waters.

The Don’t Cage Our Ocean Coalition, which was formed to oppose ocean industrial fish farming, said in a statement that Trump’s Executive Order on Promoting American Seafood Competitiveness and Economic Growth
“mandates federal agencies to craft a program for rapid authorization
of industrial offshore aquaculture facilities, which use giant floating
cages to cultivate finfish, allowing toxic pollution to flow into open
waters.”

“The federal government should strengthen local food security during this health crisis by supporting sustainable seafood, rather than allowing corporations to pollute the ecosystems we depend on.”

—Marianne Cufone, environmental attorney

Rosanna Marie Neil, policy counsel for Northwest Atlantic Marine
Alliance, a member of the coalition, said the Trump White House is
“supporting the corporate takeover of our oceans while they hope we
aren’t paying attention.”

Environmental attorney Marianne Cufone similarly accused Trump of
exploiting the Covid-19 pandemic to “push through dangerous short-cuts
to regulatory processes, while communities struggle to stay healthy, pay
rent, and put food on the table.”

“The federal government should strengthen local food security during this health crisis by supporting sustainable seafood,” said Cufone, “rather than allowing corporations to pollute the ecosystems we depend on.”

Trump’s executive order Thursday was just the latest step the
president has taken amid the coronavirus pandemic to loosen regulations
on polluting industries. In late March, as Common Dreams reported,
the Environmental Protection Agency announced a sweeping suspension of
pollution regulations and empowered the fossil fuel industry to police
itself indefinitely.

Environmental groups sued the EPA over the move, which they condemned as a “free pass for polluters.”

In an op-ed for the Wall Street Journal
Thursday, White House advisers Joe Grogan and Peter Navarro touted
Trump’s aquaculture executive order as a step toward making the U.S.
“the world’s seafood superpower.”

“President Trump’s executive order creates a task force to enact
policies that encourage fair and reciprocal trade for America’s seafood
industry, and strengthens enforcement of illegal, unreported, and
unregulated fishing,” Grogan and Navarro wrote.

But environmentalists cautioned that the order simply hands U.S.
mega-corporations more power to plunder oceans without oversight,
imperiling local fishing communities and the health of public waters.

“It is outrageous and unethical for the federal government to use the
current public health crisis to bolster this polluting industry,”
Hallie Templeton, senior oceans campaigner at Friends of the Earth, said
in a statement. “Now is the time to prioritize our health, security,
sustainable food systems, and American farmers and fishermen, not
corporations.”

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