Letters to the Editor

Sanctuary opponent was wrong on Marine Interest Group’s consensus

Supporters of the Chumash Heritage National Marine Sanctuary holds signs during the Board of Supervisors meeting Tuesday morning.
Supporters of the Chumash Heritage National Marine Sanctuary holds signs during the Board of Supervisors meeting Tuesday morning. jjohnston@thetribunenews.com

At the San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors meeting on Feb. 7 regarding the Chumash Heritage National Marine Sanctuary, a totally false statement was made by a sanctuary opponent that the county’s Marine Interest Group “voted overwhelmingly” against a sanctuary 10 years ago.

I was a member of the Marine Interest Group. We had fishermen, scientists and environmentalists who did not come to a “consensus” agreement on issues. The consensus on either expanding the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary or creating a new sanctuary, if combined, would have made a sanctuary the top priority of the MIG, but the facilitator handled them as a split vote, dropping sanctuary from further discussion. There was no anti-sanctuary vote.

Concerns were expressed over the disposal of harbor dredge spoils in a sanctuary. When dredging takes place, a sample is sent to federal laboratories for analysis. If it passes, the material can be put back into the ocean. In Avila Harbor’s port, this sediment has always passed with no problems. Since Morro Bay has been dredged for years, we can expect that the sediment has passed with no problem. If the sediment does have toxin problems, the federal laboratories would make the decision.

Harvey Cohon, San Luis Obispo

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