SCC Comment on Review of National Marine Sanctuaries and Marine National Monuments
The Department of Commerce is conducting a review of all designations and expansions of National Marine Sanctuaries and Marine National Monuments since April 28, 2007, which could leave millions of acres in the Pacific open to drilling and extraction. The public are invited to comment on this review here: https://www.regulations.gov/docket?D=NOAA-NOS-2017-0066. Our comment is below.
The California State Coastal Conservancy is one of three federally recognized coastal management agencies for the State of California. We are charged with the protection and restoration of California’s coastline and coastal watersheds, and we urge you to leave in place the current protections on all National Marine Sanctuaries and Monuments.
Along the Pacific coast, the health of our oceans is critical to our economy and to our way of life. Our pristine beaches and marine ecosystems generate over $45 billion in GDP annually and support half a million jobs. The protected Marine Sanctuaries and Monuments are a crucial part of the ocean ecosystem that sustains our state. Each of the sites contributes unique and inimitable resources to the Pacific ecosystem, which would be directly imperiled by the removal of their Monument or Sanctuary status. As you probably know, the State of California has invested heavily in a network of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) along the length of our coast that are complementary to the existing network of National Marine Sanctuaries. Californians deeply value their coast and ocean, as do the millions of tourists who visit us from all over the world every year.
The protections in place allow fish and wildlife to thrive, protect coastal water quality, and ensure that the ocean resources that we treasure will be here for our children and grandchildren. I hope that you will bear in mind the long term value of protecting marine assets in your review, and leave the existing network in place.
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