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Author Topic: News Release: OPC Slams MLPA SAT Deadline  (Read 1255 times)

Offline MATT MATTISON

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News Release: OPC Slams MLPA SAT Deadline
« on: August 03, 2009, 03:27:19 PM »
Just recived this in a email.

August 3, 2009

NEWS RELEASE
For Immediate Release
Contact:    Cindy Arch
                Ocean Protection Coalition
                707-937-2636
                mendoarches@comcast.net


Ocean Activists Protest MLPA Science Team August 14 Deadline
Inadequate Notice Typical of Flawed Process

In yet another example of the State's top-down approach to controlling California's coastal waters, an email soliciting nominations for the North Coast Science Advisory Team (SAT) gives locals barely two weeks to try to impact composition of the powerful body charged with providing scientific information on the proposed North Coast Marine Protected Area (MPA).

The July 28 message from Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) Program Manager Melissa Miller-Henson of the California Resources Agency advises "interested parties" they have until just August 14 to nominate individuals to the North Coast SAT, whose role according to the State's website is to "advise the MLPA process". 

The existing MLPA process, which has come under intense criticism as focus shifts to the North Coast, involves three advisory bodies:  regional SATs, appointed by Department of Fish and Game (DFG) Director Don Koch; a Blue Ribbon Task Force, appointed by Secretary of Resources Mike Chrisman; and regional stakeholder groups, also selected by the state. 

Judith Vidaver, chair of the Mendocino non-profit Ocean Protection Coalition (OPC), slammed the invitation as disingenuous and inadequate.  "This thinly veiled effort to stack the deck in the State's favor is more of the same heavy-handed treatment true stewards of the ocean are objecting to so strenuously.  If the State is really interested in facilitating public participation in the MLPA process, adequate outreach and time for input would be the minimum the public should expect."

Members of the OPC steering committee in a July 30 meeting instituted a letter-writing campaign to DFG protesting the inadequate notice and requesting an extension of the deadline.  The group is also urging qualified locals to step forward as SAT nominees.

SATs are comprised of "technical experts in a range of fields including marine ecology, fisheries, the design of marine protected areas, economics, and social sciences," according to the DFG website.  Documented recognition as an expert is among the list of requirements.  Full details are available at http://www.dfg.ca.gov/mlpa/pdfs/northcoast_nominations.pdf

The email was sent to subscribers of the MLPA list-serve.   An invitation letter from DFG director Koch dated July 20 accompanied the email.  Other recipients of that letter are unknown and no explanation for the lag time between the two communiques was given.  Other efforts to publicize the SAT nomination process, if any, are also unknown.

Established in 1987, OPC is a 501(c)3 organization located on California's Mendocino coast.  Members are committed to protecting the ocean from pollution, industrialization and mismanagement.  For more information, visit www.oceanprotection.org.
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