Subject: Case Study:CMC: Federal Foot-Dragging Thr (fwd)

Michael Williamson (pita@whale.simmons.edu)
Fri, 7 Mar 1997 10:48:03 -0500 (EST)

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J. Michael Williamson
   Principal Investigator-WhaleNet <http://whale.wheelock.edu>
   Associate Professor-Science
   Wheelock College, 200 The Riverway, Boston, MA 02215
voice: 617.734.5200, ext. 256
fax:    617.734.8666, or 617.566.7369
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---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Fri,  7 Mar 97 12:35:00 GMT 
From: r.mallon1@genie.com
To: marmam@uvvm.uvic.ca, pita@whale.simmons.edu
Subject: CMC: Federal Foot-Dragging Thr

CMC: Federal Foot-Dragging Threatens Future of Sea

   WASHINGTON, March 6 /U.S. Newswire/ -- The Center for Marine
Conservation (CMC) is calling on the National Marine Fisheries Service
(NMFS) to stop delaying the reclassification of the western population
of Steller sea lions as endangered species under the Endangered Species
Act.
   "Political pressure and claims of inadequate agency resources are no
excuse for breaking the law," said Robert Irvin, CMC deputy vice
president.  "Unfortunately, it seems the only way to get NMFS to carry
out its duty to protect endangered marine wildlife is to sue them."
According to Irvin, CMC is preparing to send NMFS notice of CMC's
intent to sue the agency unless the reclassification decision is made.
   "There is no excuse for this foot-dragging," said Irvin.  "The
substantial declines in Steller sea lion numbers in the western Gulf of
Alaska and the Bering Sea are a warning that something is wrong in
those waters.  The longer NMFS delays, the harder it will be to recover
Steller sea lions and other declining species in this important marine
ecosystem."
   NMFS proposed reclassification of the western population of Steller sea
lions on Oct. 4, 1995.  The Endangered Species Act requires NMFS to
make a decision within one year of the proposal. Thus, NMFS has been in
violation of the law for more than five months.  CMC has repeatedly
called on NMFS to make the reclassification decision and recently met
with top officials at the Department of Commerce to reiterate CMC's
concern about the continued delay.
   The Center for Marine Conservation is the nation's leading non-profit
organization committed to protecting ocean environments and conserving
the global abundance and diversity of marine life. Through
science-based advocacy, research and public education, CMC promotes
informed citizen participation to reverse the degradation of our
oceans.  Established in 1972, CMC has more than 120,000 members
nationwide.  CMC is headquartered in Washington, D.C., with offices in
California, Florida and Virginia.