Commission Votes Sets the Stage for
South Coast MLPA Adoption
SACRAMENTO - MLPA fisheries closures are on track for a December adoption after today's Fish and Game Commission special session. The 5-0 vote in favor of a 15 day extension of a public environmental review comment period was more about politics than good public process.
“Math was not one of my best
subjects in school. This math I can figure out. 45 days is not even a topic of
discussion at this point,” Commission President Jim Kellogg said, acknowledging
Governor Schwarzenegger’s new commission calculus.
The governor withdrew his
nomination of Michael Sutsos on Monday in favor of Heal the Bay member Jack
Baylis. The move virtually assured South Coast MLPA adoption before the lame
duck governor leaves office. Baylis is expected to vote in lock-step with
Michael Sutton and Richard Rogers, staunch MLPA proponents. Kellogg and
Commissioner Dan Richards previously favored extending the public comment
period to 90 days to give the public a better opportunity to review the
complex, 545 page Draft Environmental Impact Report.
“When you’re dealing with so many
people’s lives, their jobs, their businesses and their livelihoods, I don’t see
anything wrong with extending the comment period on a decision that is going to
last forever,” Kellogg said.
Commissioner Dan Richards was blunt
in his criticism. “The elephant in the room is the election of a new governor.
This is all contingent on that. Failure to acknowledge that and say it loudly
would be a mistake eon my part. I’m not a politician; I’m just a guy trying to
do the right thing,” Richards said.
The commission will resume MLPA
deliberations on October 20-21 in San Diego, before holding an adoption hearing
in Santa Barbara on December 15-16, the shortest possible timeline. Circle the
dates. The new balance of power on the commission means anglers have to guard
against attempts to pile additional closures.
The new DEIR public comment
period deadline is October 19. The document is available online at www.dfg.ca.gov/mlpa/impact_sc.asp.