For Quick Launch, June 24, 2020
ContactTodd Steiner, Government Director, [email protected], 415-488-7652Joanie Steinhaus, Gulf Program Director, [email protected], 512-417-7741
75 P.c of Public Feedback to NOAA Plan for Flower Backyard Banks Nationwide Marine Sanctuary Assist Growth
Proposal represents smallest enlargement regardless of public favoring biggest
GALVESTON, Texas — As NOAA accepts public enter on a proposal to increase Flower Backyard Banks Nationwide Marine Sanctuary, knowledge from the preliminary public overview of the Draft Environmental Influence Assertion (DEIS) in 2016 reveals nearly 75% of the 8,491 feedback favored enlargement. Regardless of this, NOAA decreased the scale of the enlargement areas proposed within the 2016 DEIS most popular various to “minimize user conflicts and potential economic impacts to the offshore energy industry.”
The popular various from the DEIS would have added 15 banks containing deep sea corals to the sanctuary, for a complete of 18 banks, and resulted in a rise of the sanctuary space from 56 sq. miles to roughly 383 sq. miles. As a substitute, the enlargement will solely improve the sanctuary measurement to roughly 160 sq. miles — representing lower than 17% of the most important proposed rule which might have encompassed 935 sq. miles. This largest enlargement, Various 5, was supported by greater than 53% of people who submitted feedback in 2016, and was cited by the federal government’s personal knowledge as representing “the environmentally preferable alternative under this analysis.”
Most of the proposed boundaries are carefully aligned to already present No Exercise Zones established by the Bureau of Ocean Power Administration, the company that regulates oil and fuel exploration and manufacturing actions. Oil and fuel pursuits have given up 0.0002% of their identified reserves for the smallest enlargement. The ultimate NOAA plan will decide the way forward for seismic surveys, oil and fuel leases, fishing and wildlife on this marine sanctuary for many years to return.
“Bowing to oil and gas by allowing smaller boundaries is not how we should protect a marine area of national significance,” mentioned Gulf Program Director Joanie Steinhaus. “This smaller expansion will allow for oil and gas activities closer to the reefs and expose marine wildlife to potential impacts from oil spills.”
Sanctuary formations present the muse for important habitat for a wide range of species, together with sea turtles, sharks and different necessary marine wildlife. These reefs play necessary ecological roles within the deep sea, providing feeding grounds, nurseries, and shelter for fish, crabs, lobsters, and plenty of different marine animals.
“The American people have spoken and they want greater protection for the Gulf of Mexico and the myriad endangered species like sea turtles, whales and dolphins found here, said Executive Director Todd Steiner. “We will continue the fight to reduce these threats and secure a healthy future for marine life and future generations.”
The general public is invited to touch upon the adjustments to the proposed boundaries by July 3. These feedback might be used to develop a remaining environmental affect assertion and remaining rule, which can then be out there for public overview.
Desk and pictures can be found for the media to make use of.
Turtle Island Restoration Community is a worldwide ocean conservation nonprofit that works to guard and restore populations of endangered sea turtles and marine biodiversity on the Texas coast and all through the Gulf of Mexico. Be taught extra at www.seaturtles.org/gulf.