NOAA to Reopen Marine Sanctuary Review Public Comment Period
WASHINGTON – Today, Congressman Jimmy Panetta (D-Calif.) announced that the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) will formally reopen the public comment period on a federal review of designations and expansions of national marine sanctuaries and marine national monuments. The public comment period will open for an additional 15 days, starting Monday, July 31, 2017. The review under Executive Order 13795, Implementing an America-First Offshore Energy Strategy, was previously scheduled to close Wednesday, July 26.
Last week, Congressman Panetta and 19 colleagues in the House and Senate sent the U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross a bicameral letter urging him to extend the public comment period to at least ninety days. The Executive Order could lead to the rollback of 11 marine sanctuaries and monuments, including the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary, and open these protected areas to oil and gas exploration.
Comments can be read or made at https://www.regulations.gov/docket?D=NOAA-NOS-2017-0066.
“This Executive Order is a rejection of a legacy of laws, leaders, and local communities that have long fought to prevent any attempts to drill for oil in our treasured marine sanctuaries,” said Congressman Panetta. “While I am glad that NOAA is extending the comment period 15 days, the Administration should give the public sufficient time to voice their concerns about the harm that opening our coast to oil drilling may cause our communities. I will continue to fight to protect our marine sanctuary and preserve the many benefits that our oceans bestow upon our communities, country, and future generations.”
Congressman Panetta also joined several California House Members in writing Secretary Ross a letter this week, urging the Trump Administration to maintain the boundaries and designations of California’s four National Marine Sanctuaries: Monterey Bay, the Channel Islands, Cordell Bank, and the Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuaries.