There’s still time to comment on marine monument review

So why aren’t we hearing about it?

 

Update: According to NOAA’s Office of Marine Sanctuaries, the Department of Commerce , from July 31 to Aug. 15, due to “public interest and requests for additional time.”

Though a flurry of media coverage surrounded the July 10 closing of the commenting window on national monuments under review, there has been much less talk about a related comment period — on marine monuments — that’s still open. The Department of Commerce, which oversees the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, is quietly reviewing 11 marine national monuments and national marine sanctuaries. through July 26 (see update above; comment period has been extended), but so far that review has received only about 35,000 comments, compared to nearly 1.5 million for the Interior Department’s national monument review. (The Interior Department also gathered public comments on marine monuments, which it will share with the Department of Commerce.)

Why has this gotten less attention than the non-marine monuments? People have clear emotional attachments to the national monuments they’ve visited and seen on their friends’ Instagram feeds. It’s easier to wrap your head around the value — geological, historical, cultural, biological, what have you — of a place when you have a personal connection to it. In 2016 alone, more than 330 million people visited National Parks Service-administered lands; NOAA, on the other hand, does not uniformly track visitor data of its sites.

A technical diver observes black coral on a deep dive in the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument.

But like other protected landscapes, these seascapes have been selected for preservation because of their unique natural and cultural resources. Papahānaumokuākea National Monument, for example, is home to the endangered Hawaiian monk seal and numerous other threatened and endangered species.

There is an imminent threat attached to the review of these sanctuaries and monuments: drilling. An executive order on the America-First Offshore Energy Strategy prompted the review, and one of the review’s explicit objectives is to assess the “opportunity costs associated with potential energy and mineral exploration and production” from the waters surrounding the United States.

Note: This story has been updated to reflect the number of public comments the Department of Commerce has received thus far, as well as the fact that the Interior Department also collected comments regarding marine monuments. On July 26, the department extended its public comment period.

Rebecca Worby is an editorial fellow at NewTowncarShare News.

NewTowncarShare News Classifieds
  • Background: The Birds of Prey NCA Partnership is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization based in Boise, Idaho, which was established in 2015 after in-depth stakeholder input...
  • Southwest Borderlands Initiative Professor of Native Americans and the News Media The Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University is...
  • AWF seeks an energetic Marketing and Communications Director. Please see the full job description at https://azwildlife.org/jobs
  • The Southwest Communications Director will be responsible for working with field staff in Arizona, Colorado and New Mexico to develop and execute detailed communication plans...
  • An intentional community designed for aging in place. Green built with Pumice-crete construction (R32), bamboo flooring, pine doors, T&G ceiling with fans, and maintenance free...
  • (CFROG) is a Ventura County, CA based watch-dog and advocacy non-profit organization. cfrog.org
  • Take your journalism skills to the next level and deepen your understanding of environmental issues by applying for the 2019-2020 Ted Scripps Fellowships in Environmental...
  • WINTER WILDLANDS ALLIANCE POSITION ANNOUNCEMENT: EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR Winter Wildlands Alliance seeks an experienced and highly motivated individual to lead and manage the organization as Executive...
  • The San Juan Mountains Association is seeking a visionary leader to spearhead its public lands stewardship program in southwest Colorado. For a detailed job description...
  • The Cascade Forest Conservancy seeks a passionate ED to lead our forest protection, conservation, education, and advocacy programs.
  • Mountain Pursuit is a new, bold, innovative, western states, hunting advocacy nonprofit headquartered in Jackson, Wyoming. We need a courageous, hard working, passionate Executive Director...
  • The Draper Natural History Museum (DNHM) at the Buffalo Bill Historical Center of the West in Cody, WY, invites applications for the Willis McDonald, IV...
  • Couple seeks quiet, private, off-grid acreage in area with no/low cell phone service and no/low snowfall. Conservation/bordering public lands a plus. CA, OR, WA, ID,...
  • 20mi N of Steamboat Springs, majestic views, aspen forest, year-round access, yurt, septic, solar electric, seasonal ponds, no covenants, bordering National Forest. Ag status. $449K....
  • Former northern Sierra winery, with 2208 sq.ft. commercial building, big lot, room to expand.
  • The dZi Foundation is seeking a FT Communications Associate with a passion for Nepal to join our team in Ridgway, Colorado. Visit dzi.org/careers.
  • Available now for site conservator, property manager. View resume at http://skills.ojaidigital.net.
  • Stellar seed-saving NGO is available to serious partner. Package must include financial support. Details: http://seeds.ojaidigital.net.
  • 1400 sf of habitable space in a custom-designed eco-home created and completed by a published L.A. architect in 1997-99. Nestled within its own 80-acre mountain...
  • Suitable for planting hay, hemp, fruit. Excellent water rights. 1800 square foot farmhouse, outbuildings, worker housing.