Sunday, December 23, 2012

Show us the maps!

From Delegate Sablan:
Public needs more time to comment on endangered corals - The public needs information and opportunity to comment on the proposal to list 29 species of corals found in the Northern Marianas Islands as threatened or endangered under the Endangered Species Act. Three weeks have passed since the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration proposed the listing, yet no maps showing the location of the corals have been provided for public review. As Ranking Member of the Natural Resources Subcommittee on Fisheries, Wildlife, Oceans, and Insular Affairs, I asked my colleagues from Hawaii, American Samoa, Guam, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico, which also have corals proposed for listing, to join me in a letter to NOAA asking that they provide the maps to the public and extend the comment period to 90 days after doing so. The people of the Northern Mariana Islands should have access to a complete set of materials so they can understand the proposal; and they should have sufficient time to submit informed comments.
The implementation of the Endangered Species Act has been somewhat of a disaster on Saipan.  59 of the corals up for listing are in the Pacific, but I'm not sure how many are in the territories.  A more sustainable plan for protecting these coral species would be to designate critical habitiat under the Office of the Marine National Sanctuaries, therebye guaranteeing funding for enforcement, education, and continued scientific research.

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