At request of Peters and Stabenow, marine sanctuary public comment is extended

U.S. Senators Gary Peters and Debbie Stabenow today applauded a decision by the U.S. Department of Commerce to extend the public comment period on an executive order that could lead to the rollback or elimination of 11 marine sanctuaries and monuments created or expanded over the past decade, including the expansion of Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary in Alpena. The public comment period, which was scheduled to close on Wednesday, July 26th, has been extended to Monday, August 14th.

“Strong public support and engagement from Northern Michigan residents was key to Thunder Bay’s designation and expansion, and today the sanctuary is a critical tourism destination and an integral part of Michigan’s cultural landscape,” said Senator Peters, Ranking Member of the Senate Subcommittee on Oceans, Atmosphere, Fisheries, and Coast Guard. “We called for an extended public comment period because the public needs sufficient time to provide input and make sure their comments are registered. This extension provides a brief but important opportunity for Michigan residents to highlight the role Thunder Bay plays as an economic lifeline to coastal communities in Michigan.”

“The Thunder Bay Marine Sanctuary is critical to Michigan’s economy and is part of our rich maritime heritage,” said Senator Stabenow. “This extension is an opportunity for Michigan residents to continue voicing their strong opposition to putting the Sanctuary at risk.”

Peters and Stabenow have expressed concern over the status of Thunder Bay’s expansion and urged U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross to extend the public comment period on Executive Order 13795, which included language to instruct the Department of Commerce to conduct a review of all designations and expansions of National Marine Sanctuaries and Marine National Monu-ments since April 28, 2007.

Eleven monuments and sanctuaries were designated or expanded in the past decade including the Thunder Bay Marine Sanctuary in

Alpena, Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument in Hawaii, Rose Atoll Marine National Monument in American Samoa, and the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary in California.

The Department of Commerce’s notice to extend the comment period can be found by clicking here. Complete instructions for submitting comments can be found in the Federal Register. Comments must be submitted by the August 14 deadline to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) electronically through the Federal eRulemaking Portal or by mail to: E.O. 13795 Review, National Oceanic and Atmos-pheric Administration, Silver Spring Metro Campus Building 4 (SSMC4), Eleventh Floor, 1305 East-West Hwy., Silver Spring, MD 20910.