December 14 2016

President-Elect Trump Administration Tracker:  What the Nominations Mean for Our Oceans

by Pete Stauffer

The Surfrider Foundation recently celebrated 50 victories for the year 2016 and we’re nearing a total of 400 victories since we started counting in 2006. These victories would not have been possible without the dedication of our incredible network of supporters, members and volunteers who have worked day in and day out to stand up and protect our ocean, waves and beaches for future generations.

With the recent appointments to the federal government’s cabinet, that work can potentially be undone. President-elect Trump has nominated representatives with ties to Big Oil and King Coal to key positions within the cabinet. The Surfrider Foundation advocates for policies that help to ensure and protect our ocean and coasts for the future.

Find out about the nominee’s perspectives and what we can potentially expect for the next four years in terms of protection on a federal level of our nation’s coastlines. Now, more than ever, we must stand up against Big interests and make a difference on local, statewide and regional levels to ensure the health of our ocean and coasts.

Cabinet appointments:

The role of the U.S. Cabinet is to advise the President on subjects relating to the duties of each member’s respective office. The Cabinet includes the Vice President and the heads of 15 executive departments, such as the Secretaries of Commerce, Energy, State and Interior. The head of the Environmental Protection Agency is also generally considered Cabinet rank and sits with the President, Vice President, and the 15 Cabinet Secretaries.

Find out more about each nominated appointee and how these key roles may impact the protection of our ocean, waves and beaches.

Head of Environmental Protection Agency:

The Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency is the head of the United States federal government's EPA, and is responsible for enforcing the nation’s Clean Water Act and multiple environmental statutes. The EPA’s mission is to protect human health and the environment.

Appointed nominee: Scott Pruitt

Scott Pruitt is the attorney general of Oklahoma and close ally of the fossil fuel industry. He has repeatedly sued the EPA to roll back environmental regulations and public health protections. Pruitt also denies scientific evidence of climate change, contributing to perceptions that he will oppose efforts to address climate change.

Find out about the Clean Water Act and Surfrider’s work to address clean water, in addition to rising tides and changing coastlines.

Secretary of Commerce:

The Secretary of Commerce serves as the voice of U.S. Business within the President’s Cabinet and promotes American business and industry with the current mission of creating conditions for economic growth and opportunity. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is also organized under Commerce, including NOAA’s Office of Coastal Management that administers the Coastal Zone Management Act.

Nominated appointee: Wilbur Ross

Billionaire Wilbur Ross is the 79-year-old founder of the private equity firm WL Ross & Co. He has been a leading economic advisor during the campaign and is known for restructuring companies in sectors such as steel, textile and coal. Ross is also known for his purchase of a number of coal companies in 2001, one of which experienced a fatal explosion for 12 miners.

The Surfrider Foundation has been involved nationally in fighting dangerous fossil fuel proposals. Find out more about Surfrider’s perspective on renewable ocean energy.

Secretary of State:

The Secretary of State advises and implements the President’s foreign policies.

Nominated appointee: Rex Tillerson

Rex Tillerson, 64, is the CEO of Exxon Mobile, a role he's held since 2006. While Tillerson has acknowledged the “real” and “serious” threat of climate change, his appointment marks the first time in modern history that a secretary of state has no experience in the public sector, according to The Washington Post.

The Surfrider Foundation has actively fought against Big Oil to protect our waterways and coasts from offshore oil drilling and oil and gas pipelines in the U.S.

Secretary of Interior

The Secretary of Interior oversees the nation’s federal land, natural resources and public waters.

Nominated appointee: Ryan Zinke

A lifelong hunter and fisherman, Rep. Ryan Zinke, a 55-year-old, served one term as Montana’s at-large congressional seat. Zinke has defended public access to public lands. While he states that clean air and clean water are top priorities in regards to energy development, he stands for investing in projects like coal extraction to oil and gas drilling.

Find out more about Surfrider’s position on offshore oil drilling.

Secretary of Energy:

The Secretary of Energy is the head of the U.S. Department of Energy and oversees the advancement of national, economic and energy security of the country. The position also promotes scientific and technological innovation in support of that mission.

Appointed nominee: Rick Perry

Rick Perry, former governor of Texas, has championed the oil industry, questioning science that shows that greenhouse gas emissions contribute to climate change. He also serves on the board of directors of Energy Transfer Partners, the company building the controversial project near the Standing Rock Sioux reservation.

Read Surfrider’s full statement on oil and gas pipelines in the U.S.

Want to take action? Join us and make a difference by finding your nearest Surfrider chapter or renew, become a member or make a donation to support the protection of our ocean, waves and beaches for today, tomorrow and every day after at: http://surfrider.org/support-surfrider.

We fight. We protect. And together, we win. Join us at surfrider.org.