Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Save us from the recklessness of the righteous...

Open letter to President Obama, with a copy to Governor Schwartzenegger

Laird Durham
SF Boating Examiner

Dear President Obama,

Thank you for your decision to maintain a Bush Administration rule that saves us from the recklessness of the righteous.

In doing so, you put science and perspective ahead of the political lobbying muscle of environmentalists who insist that banning a cement plant in Georgia or shuttering a power plant in Minnesota will save polar bears.

Now please shine your light of common sense on California’s offshore waters, where environmentalists are trying to ban sport fishing from the most productive fishing holes. Without the science to show cause or correlation the environmentalists simply extol the righteousness of their case against the evils of sport fishing.

The environmentalists already have succeeded in persuading California legislators to pass a Marine Life Protection Act (Isn’t that a wonderfully righteous title? How can anyone but ogres oppose it?). Now they want to use the Act to establish Marine Protected Areas where sport fishing will be outlawed. Never mind that there are no scientific studies to show where the MPAs should be, nor how the MPAs will do a better job than the fishermen themselves -- whose self-interest is more beneficial to fish than the posturing of their so-called “protectors”.

California’s salt water sport fishermen generate $2.3 billion in economic output and provide $800 million worth of jobs for supporting businesses, many of them in small coastal communities that would be devastated by MPAs.

To paraphrase your Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, protection of the coastal environment requires comprehensive policies, not a patchwork of so-called protective reserves.

Thank you for whatever influences you or Mr. Salazar can extend to us.

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