Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Who Runs the MLPAI?

By John Lewallen, Public Ocean Access Network, Philo
December 31, 2009

The memorandum of understanding (MOU) setting up the Marine Life Protection Act Initiative (MLPAI) at is essential reading for anyone dealing with the MLPAI “external array” process.

This MOU is a major document in California history. In exchange for partial funding of the MLPAI process, the Resources Legacy Fund Foundation is given total control. It is the first step in the privatization of ocean resource management of California’s public ocean waters and intertidal zone.

The MLPAI process is run by employees of the Resources Legacy Fund Foundation, controlled by a secret group of corporate foundations. Any party to the Memorandum of Understanding--the Foundation, the California Resources Agency, or the California Department of Fish and Game--can withdraw from the MOU on forty days’ notice.

Perhaps the cruelest distortion of the 1999 Marine Life Protection Act in the MOU is its setup of a Blue Ribbon Task Force to present a set of alternative plans for permanent closure of public ocean access to the Fish and Game Commission. The Act mandates a single MLPA process, run lawfully by the state, directed by biologists familiar with Northcoast fisheries, involving all affected parties. Here on the Northcoast, well-meaning citizens are set against each other in a fear-driven “external array” process rife with misinformation and rushed deadlines.

The sooner Californians unite to cancel this Memorandum of Understanding, the easier it will be to end this crazy, suicidal attack on public access to sustainable food from the ocean, essential food.

Resources Secretary Mike Chrisman recently said that the State of California will never have enough public money to pay wardens to guard the new Marine Protected Areas. We should not be allowing private interests, with their many private plans for our clean ocean waters, cut us off with private guards from access to California’s public ocean waters and intertidal zone.

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