Dear USET/USET SPF Family,
The Biden-Harris Administration has released the Ocean Climate Action Plan (OCAP), which is a plan to execute on ocean climate actions that meet three goals: 1) reduce greenhouse gas emissions that cause climate change; 2) protect natural coastal and ocean systems that store greenhouse gases and protect communities and ecosystems; and 3) develop ocean-based solutions to the climate crisis that also help communities adapt and thrive.
The OCAP is directing near-term actions to achieve these goals. These actions include increasing offshore wind and marine energy development, decarbonizing marine shipping, and advancing marine carbon removal and storage (e.g., protecting marine kelp beds and coastal salt marshes). The OCAP also outlines ways to protect fisheries, aquaculture, and coastal communities who are dependent on the ocean.
On December 15, 2022, USET SPF submitted comments in response to a Dear Tribal Leader Letter (DTLL) issued by the Council on Environmental Quality, the Office of Science and Technology Policy, and the Domestic Climate Policy Office (“Executive Offices”) issued on October 14, 2022. USET SPF’s comments called upon the OCAP to account for and value Indigenous Knowledge in the development of climate action solutions and that these solutions should be developed by Tribal Nations and through Indigenous-led research. USET SPF also emphasized concerns with offshore wind development, increased funding for Tribal Historic Preservation Officers and Tribal natural/cultural resource managers, and greater inclusion of Tribal Nations in climate change planning and adaptation.
The final publication of the OCAP has indicated that the Administration will consider the use of Indigenous Knowledge to advance actions based on the OCAP. The OCAP has also stated that the Administration will explore funding mechanisms, technical assistance, and other actions to improve Tribal Nation access to federal funds for research, monitoring, and workforce development.
USET will continue to follow the implementation of OCAP to monitor its impact on protection of the Ocean, fisheries, aquaculture, and coastal communities. For questions or more information, please contact Casey Thornbrugh, USET Climate Program Manager, at email@example.com.