Shark Stewards Opposes USCG Exemption to Dump in National Marine Sanctuaries

The US Coast Guard is seeking exemption for dumping into the Greater Farallones and Cordell Bank National Marine Sanctuaries.

Pursuant to a request from United States Coast Guard, NOAA is considering developing future rulemaking to allow the following USCG discharges within part or all of Greater Farallones and Cordell Bank National Marine Sanctuaries (GFNMS and CBNMS): 1. untreated vessel sewage, 2. vessel graywater (as defined by the Federal Water Pollution Control Act) that does not meet the definition of clean, and 3. ammunition and pyrotechnics (flare) materials used in USCG training exercises for use of force and search and rescue.

Comments are being accepted by 5/31/16 by these mechanisms: via three public meetings held by NOAA this week, via the Federal e-Rulemaking Portal (identification # is NOAA-NOS-2016-0043) or via mail, per the instructions in the Federal Register notice.

Shark Stewards is requesting that NOAA deny the US Coast Guard, the Federal Agency charged with enforcing dumping in the Sanctuary, any exemption to dumping regulated materials into Sanctuary waters.

Add  your voice to this petition and we will submit this to the Sanctuary by the closure of the hearing period on May 31.

 The scoping period is intended to assist NOAA in gathering information and other comments to determine the relevant scope of issues and range of alternatives to be addressed in the environmental process for this topic, from individuals, organizations, tribes, and government agencies. NOAA is interested in receiving public comment on how to best address the need for continued USCG operations in GFNMS and CBNMS while fulfilling its primary objective of resource protection in national marine sanctuaries.  NOAA has identified two options for this: 1) Changing the regulations to allow USCG discharges and 2) Issuing a national marine sanctuary general permit, if the activity is eligible for a permit and is conducted in accordance with the terms and conditions in the permit. In either case, the specified discharges could be allowed in all waters of the sanctuaries; only in Federal waters (further than 3 nautical miles from shore); in certain zones delineated based on biological factors (such as oceanographic features or abundance of a particular species) and other factors (such as high use for recreation, fishing, shipping, or other human activities); in the expanded waters of CBNMS and GFNMS; or not at all.

The three public scoping meetings on this topic are this week:
Tues., May 10, 2016, 6 PM, at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Bay Model Visitor Center, 2100 Bridgeway, Sausalito CA;

Wed, May 11, 2016, 6 PM, at the Bodega Bay Fire Protection District, 510 Hwy. 1, Bodega Bay, CA; and

Thurs., May 12, 2016, 6 PM, at the Gualala Community Center, 47950 Center St., Gualala CA.