While sea levels are rising, Congress’ ocean IQ is receding.Tuesday’s election gave control of the House of Representatives to the Republican Party and expanded its base in the Senate. And it will likely expand the partisan rancor of an increasingly dysfunctional political system mocked by a quarter-million folks at Comedy Central’s Rally to Restore Sanity last weekend.
But there’s not much humor to be found when you look at the likely effect of the election on the oceans. While ocean and coastal conservation has historically been a bipartisan issue, many moderate Republican House and Senate members who were once key advocates for marine protection — such as Rep. Jim Saxon of New Jersey, Rep. Wayne Gilchrest of Maryland, and Sen. John Chafee of Rhode Island — are no longer there. In their place are anti-government zealots who distrust any regulation by land or by sea.
On the other side of the aisle, some normally progressive Democrats like Rep. Barney Frank (Mass.) have strongly opposed plans to stop overfishing. He follows the lead of commercial fishers in his Massachusetts district who don’t use the same science-based ... Read more