Press Release of U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer

For Immediate Release:
December 20, 2012  
Contact:
Washington D.C. Office (202) 224-3553

Boxer Praises Obama Administration's Proposed Expansion of Gulf of the Farallones and Cordell Bank National Marine Sanctuaries  


Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) joined Rep. Lynn Woolsey (D-Petaluma) to praise the Obama Administration’s announcement of a proposed expansion of the Gulf of the Farallones and Cordell Bank National Marine Sanctuaries, which would more than double the size of the sanctuaries and permanently protect the entire Sonoma County coastline and part of the Mendocino County coastline up to Point Arena.

Senator Boxer and Rep. Woolsey joined David Kennedy, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Assistant Administrator for the National Ocean Service, at a news conference on Capitol Hill about NOAA’s announcement, along with California Reps. Sam Farr, Barbara Lee, Lois Capps and Jackie Speier.

Senator Boxer and Rep. Woolsey are the chief sponsors of legislation to expand the sanctuaries, and had urged the Administration to use its authority to permanently protect the area.

Video of the news conference is available here.

The following are Senator Boxer’s remarks as prepared for delivery:

Good afternoon. I’m so pleased to be here with Congresswoman Woolsey and NOAA Assistant Administrator for the National Ocean Service, David Kennedy, to celebrate a historic milestone in the effort to preserve Northern California’s pristine coastline for future generations.

This is a huge step toward expanding the Gulf of the Farallones and Cordell Bank National Marine Sanctuaries by more than 2,700 square miles – more than doubling the size of the sanctuaries.


This is an area that includes the entire Sonoma County coastline and part of the Mendocino County coastline up to Point Arena.

When we expand these sanctuaries, we will protect this area from: oil and gas drilling, the introduction of non-native species, discharges from cruise ships and other vessels, and disturbance of the seabed.

I’d like to thank President Obama, Acting Secretary of Commerce Rebecca Blank, NOAA Administrator Dr. Jane Lubchenco, and Mr. Kennedy for recognizing the importance of protecting this pristine environment.

I am convinced that the expansion of the Gulf of the Farallones and Cordell Bank National Marine Sanctuaries will soon be a reality.

I am proud to stand beside Congresswoman Woolsey today, and I thank her for her leadership on this issue. We have been working towards this moment for a long time.

Together, we have introduced legislation to expand these Marine Sanctuaries for the past four Congresses. Our bill has made progress. In the Senate, it has passed the Commerce Committee three times, and it was passed once by the House of Representatives. But our work has been stalled repeatedly.

So we enlisted the help of President Obama and Dr. Lubchenco, and urged them to do everything in their power to preserve this spectacular coastline.

Expanding these sanctuaries will protect one of the most productive coastal ocean regions on the planet, which provides habitat for:

At least 25 threatened or endangered species, including magnificent blue whales, humpback whales, northern fur seals, and leatherback turtles – California’s official marine reptile; spectacular living reefs of corals and sponges; one-third of the world’s whale and dolphin species; at least 163 bird species, including the largest colony of seabirds in the continental U.S.; and more than 300 species of fish, including commercially valuable salmon and groundfish.

Furthermore, the expanded sanctuaries will help preserve the half a million jobs and nearly $36 billion in economic activity that depend on ocean tourism, recreation, and fishing in California.

The proposal to expand these sanctuaries has broad, local and state support, including: Governor Brown; the California Resources Agency, Coastal Commission, and State Lands Commission; the four Counties and ten local cities neighboring the expansion area; the Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen’s Associations and Bodega Bay Fishermen’s Marketing Association; and numerous environmental organizations.

California’s beautiful coastline is one of the State’s most prized treasures.

The efforts being taken today to expand the Gulf of the Farallones and Cordell Bank National Marine Sanctuaries will help ensure that this biologically-rich, vibrant ecosystem remains a part of California’s legacy forever.
###