Farallones Fight over USCG

Hey, got a late-in-the-day blast signed by a bunch Northern CA lawmakers, pushing the White House to get the Coast Guard to drop a request for what the Reps (Huffman and Thompson included). are calling a late-game request for an exemption from a new National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration rule, which would vastly expand the boundaries of the Gulf o’ Farallones and Cordell Bank sanctuaries of a marine variety . According to NOAA, the Gulf of would add 2,000 square miles into its benthic grasp, from 1,282 to @ 3,295 square miles. Cordell Bank would almost double in size.This is what you call and interagency dispute between NOAA and the Coast Guard, and the White House Office of Management and Budget is the Reconciler in Chief on this matter. 

The meat of the letter:

We are increasingly concerned that the implementation of the final rule to accomplish crucial ocean protections has been delayed due to an exemption request from the United States Coast Guard (USCG). While we recognize and very much appreciate the unique and vital role the USCG plays in protecting the health of our marine sanctuaries, we do not agree that this requires a specific exemption to be added to the final rule at the eleventh hour. The completion of the boundary expansion will benefit small rural communities up and down the coast that depend on a healthy ocean and income generated from tourism. We urge you to allow the final rule for the expansion to move forward in a timely manner.

Went and checked out the Federal Register for what it had to say about the proposed new rule and exemptions: Here’s a couple:

Exemption for Department of Defense Activities

NOAA proposes to extend to the [Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary] expansion area an existing exemption for Department of Defense (DOD) activities necessary for national defense, provided suchactivities are conducted on or prior to the effective date of GFNMS designation or GFNMS expansion. DOD activities necessary for national defense initiated after the effective date of designation or expansion could be exempted after consultation with the Sanctuary Superintendent, with authority delegated from the ONMS Director. DOD activities not necessary for national defense, such as routine exercises and vessel operations, would be subject to all prohibitions that apply to GFNMS.

Exemption for Emergencies

NOAA proposes to extend to the proposed expansion area for GFNMS a provision that would exempt from sanctuary regulations for activities necessary to respond to an emergency threatening life, property, or the environment.

The push from congress comes two days after the latest NOAA advisory council meeting on the Farallones, held in Pt. Reyes Station. Next one’s in May. 

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