August 7, 2008

Groups Deliver 150,000 Comments to Bush Administration Calling for Withdrawal of Proposed Rule That Would Undercut Environmental Review, Stifle Public Input in Oceans & Fisheries Management


Contact: Tony DeFalco, +1-503-234-3505, or Mike Gravitz, +1-202- 683-1250, both of Marine Fish Conservation Network

72 Members of Congress Join in Citing Concerns with Bush Administration Proposal

PORTLAND, Ore., Aug. 7 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A national coalition of environmental, fishing and marine science groups delivered more than 150,000 comments to the Bush administration calling for withdrawal of a proposed rule that would gut environmental review and limit public input in oceans and fisheries management. The comments are being delivered simultaneously to four separate federal offices in Boston, MA, St. Petersburg, FL, Seattle, WA and La Jolla, CA.

"The American public has spoken loudly and clearly -- take better care of our oceans," said Tony DeFalco, Director of Regional Operations for the Marine Fish Conservation Network, a national coalition of 190 groups dedicated to healthy oceans and productive fisheries. "Solid, science-based environmental analysis, along with healthy opportunities for the public and fishermen to weigh in are the bedrock of good ocean management. This rule would gut those time- honored processes," DeFalco added.

The groups are joined by 72 members of the U.S. House of Representatives who have signed a letter authored by the Chairman of the House Natural Resources committee Representative Nick Rahall (D- WV) to the head of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration citing concerns with the proposed rule for failing to comply with longstanding environmental protection laws and failing to ensure thorough environmental review of the broader impact of fishing activities.

"The Administration's proposed rule ignores the letter and the spirit of the National Environmental Policy Act, despite a directive from Congress almost two years ago to comply with NEPA," said Mike Gravitz, Oceans Advocate for Environment America, a federation of state-based, citizen-funded environmental advocacy organizations. "Representatives from 22 states and two territories are sufficiently concerned about the harmful effect this rule could have on America's oceans and ocean wildlife that they have signed this letter," Gravitz added.

The public can submit official comments on the proposal through August 12, 2008 by visiting: organizations/MFCN/campaign.jsp?campaign_KEY=24897.

The Marine Fish Conservation Network is a national coalition of 190 environmental groups, commercial and recreational fishing associations and marine science organizations dedicated to healthy oceans and productive fisheries. Find out more at

SOURCE Marine Fish Conservation Network

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