Young Co-Hosts Roundtable at the Consortium for Ocean Leadership’s 2017 Public Policy Forum
Discusses Oceans, Management, Budget, Coast Guard and Border Wall
Washington, D.C. – Earlier this week, Alaska Congressman Don Young co-hosted a Congressional roundtable at the Consortium for Ocean Leadership’s 2017 Public Policy Forum – “Feeding the Future: An Ocean of Opportunity” – an annual gathering in Washington, D.C. focused on facilitating robust discussions across academia, government, commercial and non-profit sectors for the good of our oceans and the human population.
The hour-long roundtable featured Representative Don Young, co-chair of the Congressional Oceans Caucus, and Representative Jim McGovern (D-MA), co-chair of the Congressional Hunger Caucus, to discuss a wide range of issues and ideas relating to oceans, fisheries, food safety, national security and congressional funding levels.
Consortium for Ocean Leadership 2017 Public Policy Forum: Rep. Young & Rep. McGovern (click here to watch)
Here are a few notable quotes and discussions from Congressman Don Young:
“My interest has long been the oceans, wildlife and the management of. I think we have to understand the management. Unfortunately, even in this room you have differences of opinion. I would suggest respectively there’s enough strength and intelligence in this room, if we all got together and quit arguing, nitpicking, and wanting your way 100%, think what we could do with the oceans… Let’s not just say no. I’m speaking primarily to fishing. In my state, it’s one of the largest economic forces to the state, and it feeds an awful lot of people. How do we keep that? We certainly don’t do it by growing salmon in nets.”
“We’ve talked about that for a long time. Where do we address it? On shore. We can identify it now. We know where most of the large deposits of, I call it, refuges located in the seas. Why hasn’t someone, maybe we take all of our ocean or related transportation companies and set up a consortium just not to pay for the docks and harbors, but pay and help create a ship or ships that can go to the spot where the refuge is lying and solve it right there by collecting it… Why don’t we clean the ocean up? We have not done that as long as man has been on earth. But it’s there and it’s growing every day. Sometimes areas are as large as 30 miles long and 20 miles wide – floating trash. But I can’t find anyone interested because they don’t see it. What many doesn’t see, they don’t really do anything about.”
“I’m asking this Consortium to really sort of think outside the box, all hold hands, because that’s what we have to do in Congress – that’s pretty hard to do in Congress today I’ll tell you that right now. Everyone looks at me and says I’m a Republican, yet I’m talking like a liberal. I’m talking about preserving, protecting and providing for an asset to this nation – it’s our oceans. For food – which is crucial as our population grows. For transportation – which is crucial as we do trade. Or, frankly for security.”
“Let’s take care of the one thing that provides to all of us, and that’s the ocean. Water, the food, the security, and the future – all lies in the oceans. My role as the Congressman is to make sure I connect with people, listen to people, and try to solve some of these problems together. That’s my role as the only Congressman for Alaska…I do believe Alaska can solve, with your help, some of the issues we just mentioned – food security, science and keeping our oceans clean.”
“I would echo the fact ignorance of people about the ocean is very prevalent. Some of that is your fault. You talk among yourselves; you don’t go outside – little education on the oceans. And then you have the adversarial position within those participating in the oceans. We have groups in this room that don’t like fishing. That’s bad because the fishermen are going to go and oppose you. We have groups that don’t like the chemical industry. And I’m saying that’s where we miss the boat. If we really believe in the ocean and the providing it will do for the population of the world, then we ought to join hands and say, ok, I don’t get my way all the time – 110% – but let’s work together to clean it up and stop man’s – and I think that may be minor to some extent – and decide how the oceans will be managed, not preserved. When I see an administration set aside thousands and thousands – millions – of acres without consultation, that’s not good because it creates an adversarial role among those that work on the oceans.”
“The President doesn’t write the budget guys, we write the budget. The United States Congress writes the budget. But boy, you talk about blip hitting the fan when the President comes down with a budget, whether you’re right, left or in between – ‘oh the President’ and the media falls into it and creates this hysteria. What I’m suggesting for you is to work with the appropriators and the Congress, and say ‘this is important…’
I keep saying, we as a nation have forgotten the three branches of government and only the Congress can raise and spend money, not the President. Yet, I listen to the media every night – when I get done throwing up – you know the ‘President… is going to do everything.’ Now he knows – my good seatmate here – and I know, we’re the ones that write the budget. Now we may have a different opinion where we spend the money, but it’s up to us to spend the money. If I can go and spend money that can help the future, and take and provide the science, I’m going to support that.”
“I’ll bring up one point that bothers me with proposed spending of dollars and military defense. One of the areas that the administration is proposing – remember we write the budget – cutting the Coast Guard, cutting NOAA, cutting NMFS (which is a part of NOAA), and a few other things without any consultation; to pay for the wall by the way, the wall. Honestly, I voted against the wall – not because I’m a humanitarian – but because it won’t work. It’s that simple. I’m not going to spend 18, 20, 100 billion dollars to build something that not’s going to work.”
“Now, can I make a suggestion and you’re all an intellectual group – you can help me sell this. I want to sell ‘Wall Bonds.’ Think about this a minute. It’s a play off of War Bonds. We’ll put them out, give them 2.5% interest – that’s what we did in WWII to finance the war. But the decision will be up to you whether we want to build the wall or not. It won’t work… I’m a big Coast Guard guy, always have been… but we got to look at these things as we go through this and say, ok this makes no sense. You want to build a wall, then sell ‘Wall Bonds.’”