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Changes to Environmental Law Could Hurt Ocean


Aired 4/19/09


(Photo: Dan Jacobson, Legislative Director with Environment California, holding part of a boat load of comments bundled in fishing nets, for deliver to the National Marine Fisheries Service. Ed Joyce/KPBS )


Environmental groups say proposed rule changes to a federal law could threaten marine life off our coast. KPBS Reporter Ed Joyce has details.


The National Marine Fisheries Service is proposing changes to the National Environmental Policy Act or NEPA.


NEPA has been used for 30 years to manage public natural resources such as sea turtles, corals, and valuable fish populations.


Dan Jacobson with Environment California says the proposal would gut those environmental policies.


Jacobson: They're going to limit what they look at so instead of taking the whole ecosystem as a whole in the ocean, they're just going to look at individual parts. And when you do that, that doesn't help protect the ocean.


Jacobson says the proposal also includes a shorter public comment period from a mandatory 45 days to as little as two weeks.


He says another change introduces new ways for fishery managers to avoid environmental review and public participation entirely.


Jacobson delivered more than 150,000 comments against the proposal to the San Diego office of the National Marine Fisheries Service.


Ed Joyce, KPBS News.


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