Pacific Swell | Southern California environment news and trends

Fish & Game grants more time for MLPA comments

Surfers, kayakers, spearfishermen, beachgoers, scientists, cities, charter boat operators, and anyone else you can think of: coastal resource users between Santa Barbara and the Mexican border have got more time to comment on the state of California's Marine Life Protection Act - 15 more days in fact. Fish and Game commissioners extended the comment period for the draft environmental impact report - a reasonable-sized page-turner just a touch over 500 pages long - until their next meeting, in the San Diego area October 20 and 21. The deadline was supposed to be today.

Fishermen had pushed for a 45-day extension - which, coupled with other notice requirements, would likely have pushed the adoption of the South Coast region's marine protected areas into a new year, under a new governor. (Guess they like their chances better with either Brown OR Whitman.)

Fish and game commission members made that call at the last meeting, September 29 - at which Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger seated a fifth member, Jack Baylis of Los Angeles. Baylis, 53, has been the U.S. group executive of strategic development for AECOM Technology Corporation since 2006. Previously, Baylis worked for CH2M Hill, for Linabond, and before that, for Brown and Caldwell Engineers as vice president and corporate officer from 1994 to 1995, program manager from 1990 to 1993 and staff engineer from 1988 to 1990. On top of that, Baylis was once on the board of Heal the Bay - so fishing interests are at best skeptical of his potential confirmation.

Baylis is the third guy so far who could take that commission chair. The last one, Michael Sutsos, had his nomination rescinded by the governor after 18 days. Don Benninghoven didn't get confirmed in August after a massive outpouring of oppostion from fishermen. The Senate's got to confirm him for the $100-a-day job. You think they will? Let us know!

Here's a video explaining the MLPA process if you're curious what's been happening.

CA MLPA 101 - North Coast Study Region from Annelore Reisewitz on Vimeo.