A federal ocean justice strategy should identify and empower groups that work directly with disadvantaged communities and provide under-invested communities the tools to secure long-term funding in the event federal funding lapses, the Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF) advised the Biden administration in recent comments.
CBF also called for the administration to do more research into the socio-economic impacts of climate change on marine resources and environments, and coastal communities. And CBF endorsed using federal and state environmental justice screening tools to identify coastal communities overburdened by pollution.
CBF submitted its comments to the White House Council on Environmental Quality July 24 in response to a request for information to help the administration develop “equitable and just practices to advance safety, health, and prosperity” for ocean and coastal communities around the country.
The strategy should focus on ensuring prior informed consent of Indigenous peoples and communities of color when designing and implementing resource management policies, CBF said.
It must also acknowledge that federal actions directly affect communities that depend on fishing and other ocean industries. And it must recognize the value of local and traditional knowledge of places, conservation practices, and community livelihoods and draw on that wisdom in making ocean management decisions.
Federal Director Keisha Sedlacek made the following statement about CBF’s comments:
“Too many of our region’s communities, including Black and Indigenous communities with centuries-old economic and cultural connections to the Bay and its tributaries, have borne the brunt of rapid development and discriminatory policies in fishing and other ocean industries.
“It is long past time we addressed the injustices that have devastated their livelihoods and nearly destroyed their way of life.
“CBF appreciates the opportunity to contribute to this important initiative. We look forward to continuing to work with the administration to advance equity, inclusion, and justice in coastal communities in the Bay watershed and around the country.”