08/28/2007: "Loss of Control? Then “We will not adopt it”"
To the Editor:
Response to John Evans and Gordy Petersen on the Aquatic Reserve: For those of us who were here when the National Marine Sanctuary was proposed back in the ‘80’s it is understandable to be skeptical about new ‘sanctuaries’ from governments above. We want to manage our marine environment ourselves. With our groundbreaking Marine Resource Committee (MRC), UW Labs, and others, we have proven we can do a good job. The County Council understands this and is pursuing the Aquatic Reserve designation because it will add to the local control we already have. Local government and local citizens will be involved in all phases of developing the management plan for the Reserve. If the final plan gives away any local control we will not adopt it.
In a recent letter to the Editor, several long standing members of the MRC pointed out that DNR currently exercises unilateral control over state-owned shorelines and bedlands in San Juan County, and that the Aquatic Reserve designation would increase local control rather than diminish it. They also pointed out the designation would only affect those state owned resources, which constitute most of the waters in the County.
There is a significant opportunity here. For instance, there’s the example of Snohomish PUD’s attempt to install tidal generators in Cattle Pass and Speiden Channel . Right now, that’s DNR water and bottom, not San Juan County. The Aquatic Sanctuary will give us a say in this issue. That’s a pretty big deal right there!
However, as good as it might sound, we will still want to vet any proposal to make sure the County, OPALCO, WSF, sewer districts, ports, local businesses, etc. don’t give up anything. There will be plenty of publicity and public hearings before a plan is considered for adoption. Why is there such hue and cry about this issue when there is nothing yet on the table? And I’m surprised that John Evans would invoke the term “environmental lobby” when he is the paid lobbyist and he’s describing mostly dedicated, citizen volunteers. He of all people should appreciate the work these people do for the County.
District 3, Town of Friday Harbor
San Juan County Council San Juan