Wednesday, July 22, 2009

What Officials Are Saying About the Marine Life Protection Act

State and local government officials, Fish & Game commissioners and other environmental leaders have expressed doubt about the Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) and even called for the process to be halted. Below are some of their quotes:

“The process must be based on sound science. I have been saying, ‘show me the science.’ So far I'm not satisfied with the answers I've been getting.”

– Wesley Chesbro, First District Assemblymember who voted in favor of the original legislation in 1999 that created the MLPA

“This is possibly the most devastating thing that has ever happened in Laguna Beach. The supporters have no concept of what they are doing to our economy. I am so angry, and I will not sign that resolution.”

– Kelly Boyd, Laguna Beach Mayor

“Maybe the commission can appeal to the Legislature to put this MLPA process on hold until the state gets on its feet again. That will give us much more opportunity to see if the existing marine protected areas work.”

– Jim Kellogg, Fish and Game Commissioner

“The MLPA and imposition of MPAs does not prevent pollution to the ocean in areas like Southern California, but rather restricts fishing access as a method of protecting marine resources. The problem is that the MLPA process does not fund acquisition of scientific data as a basis for sound planning and MPA design.”

– Patrick Higgins, Commissioner for the Humboldt Bay Harbor, Recreation and Conservation District

“Point Arena is one of the most environmentally active cities on the North Coast, and we don’t support the MLPA’s Integrated Preferred Alternative (IPA).”

– Craig Bell, Mendocino County Fish and Game Advisory Commissioner

“We learned that the process (which was supposed to be stakeholder-driven and democratic) of developing the ‘recommended alternative’ was corrupted. Local stakeholders’ concerns were repeatedly ignored and their recommendations over-ridden.”

– Judith Vidaver, Ocean Protection Coalition

“This is not a fishermen versus environmentalists matter. This is a fiscal matter to me. The process, up until recently, has been pretty fair, open and honest…but what I'm not going to do is put my head in the sand like many others and ignore the fiscal crisis California is in right now. The Department of Fish and Game already is laying off people, cutting programs. Now they want to layer on another program that isn't funded? How did this get priority over all those other programs? It's inappropriate, plain and simple.”

– Dan Richards, Fish and Game Commissioner

“The MLPA process is neither fair nor transparent. The MPAs (Marine Protected Areas) as proposed are not necessary or effective. The MLPA process draws tremendous state and community resources at a time when they could be better used for other things.”

– Vivian Helliwell, Watershed Conservation Director

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