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Secretary of the Commonwealth to the presiding officer of each branch of Congress and to each member thereof from this Commonwealth, House of Representatives, adopted, March 27, 1968.
WILLIAM C. MAIERS, Clerk. A true copy. Attest:
JOHN F. X. DAVOREN,
Washington, D.C., April 4, 1968.
DEAR CONGRESSMAN LENNON : On September 18, 1967, I introduced in the Senate the companion bill to H.R. 4749, S. 2415.
The residents of Massachusetts are particularly concerned about the use of offshore waters for industrial exploitation. The shorelines of Massachusetts are among our most valuable natural resources. They are of great value not only to the people of the Commonwealth, but to all the citizens of this country, for their recreational and food-producing qualities.
Oil exploration has now come to the coast of New England, as it has previously come to the West coast and the Gulf of Mexico. The oil companies are presently taking all possible precautions to avoid destroying the natural life of the area or interfering with the fishing industry. But exploration does upset the ecological balance; it does interfere with fishing operations; and derricks and drilling rigs would upset the recreational value of the region. I do not say that drilling for oil should be prohibited off the New England coast; but I do say that it is essential that guidelines be established now, and certain particularly scenic areas or plentiful fishing grounds be reserved for those purposes.
But oil exploration does not present the only threat to our shorelines, though it is presently the most dramatic example. Our natural resources are being destroyed through waste deposits and pollution. Shoreline development has turned many natural coastal areas, which formerly were breeding grounds for innumerable varieties of shellfish and other types of marine life, into homesites and marinas. A properly devised and applied comprehensive wetlands program is desperately needed in this country.
I hope that the Merchant Marine and Fisheries Committee will give favorable consideration to this measure. Sincerely yours,
EDWARD W. BROOKE.
STATEMENT OF DR. DONALD J. ZINN ON BEHALF OF THE NATIONAL WILDLIFE
Mr. Chairman, I am Donald J. Zinn, President of the National Wildlife Federation, which has its national headquarters at 1412 Sixteenth Street, N.W., here in Washington, D.C.
By way of identification, the National Wildlife Federation is a private conservation organization which seeks to attain conservation goals through educational means. The Federation has independent affiliates in 49 States. These affiliates, in turn, are composed of local groups and individuals who, when combined with associate members and other supporters of the National Wildlife Federation number an estimated 212 million persons.
In private life, I am an aquatic biologist who serves as Professor of Zoology at the University of Rhode Island. I also am a Research Assistant at the Narragansett Marine Laboratory and formerly was a naturalist with the Marine Biological Laboratory at Woods Hole, Massachusetts.
We have read, “Marine Science Affairs,” the Second Report of the President to the Congress on Marine Resources and Engineering Development (March, 1968), with unusual interest. One comment in the section on "Rational Uses of the Coastal Zone” (pp. 62–63 of the bound volume) would seem to apply particularly well with reference to the bills under consideration by the Subcommittee. This section reads, in part:
“The scope, diversity, and significance of problems that arise in the Coastal Zone are so broad that practically all institutions of our society have become involved in its management-private individuals who own shoreland, industrial interests, local and State Governments, and the Federal Government.
“Only rarely have lands and waters of the Coastal Zone been subjected to planned and controlled development. Further, the planning which has been done has not always resulted in effective allocation of resource uses among competitors. As a consequence, the trend in some places has been toward single-purpose uses, determined by immediate economic advantages to individuals, firms, and local governments. Industrial development; transportation and commerce; oil, gas, and mineral production; private waterfront housing; public recreation; and nature preservation; among others, have all pre-empted Coastal Zone areas without consideration either of harmonious relationships between users or optimum use of a scarce resource itself.”
Mr. Chairman, I am of the firm opinion that these bills point up a serious problem which requires solution. Conflicts of interest have existed—and do exist. The unfortunate fish kill in September, 1966, as a result of seismic explorations was highly publicized, particularly along the East Coast. Less well known have been many documented cases of similar losses in the Gulf of Mexico, particularly off the coast of Louisiana. And, the Secretary of the Interior earlier this very month (April, 1968) condemned operators for oil pollution of Cook Inlet in Alaska. These conflicts will become magnified when other uses of marine resources are developed in the magnitude that is anticipated.
In summary, therefore, we are in accord with the principles expressed in H.R. 11584 and other bills, believing a study must be made to identify those areas which should be set aside from industrial development because of their special values from the public viewpoint. We think this procedure has a fair counterpart in the land areas that are now under review for possible preservation as wilderness.
The Subcommittee must decide if these bills are the proper mechanisms to attain the desired objectives. For example, we have made no determination if the time limit of two years, or the financial authorization of $1 million, are practical from the viewpoint of initiating and completing such a study. And, we realize there necessarily will be some overlap with other research efforts, either under way or planned. However, we do believe that additional research in this area is vital and necessary. The Executive Branch agencies surely can coordinate to avoid duplication of efforts.
Thank you for the opportunity of making these remarks.
STATEMENT OF FREDERICK EISSLER, DIRECTOR OF THE SIERRA CLUB Mr. Chairman, I am a director of the governing board of the Sierra Club a conservation group with headquarters in San Francisco and chapters throughout the nation. As a resident of Santa Barbara in Southern California, I am familiar with the Channel Islands region that some of the bills before you today indicate should be evaluated for sanctuary status.
The marine sanctuaries proposal adapts the principles of the historic Wilderness Act of 1964 to ocean areas. Our organization endorses this far sighted application of these principles. Now that industry at an ever increasing pace competes for use of the sea, particularly for the mineral resources, sections of offshore areas should be preserved as nearly as possible in a natural state for scientific study, wilderness recreation, sport and commercial fishing, enjoyment of beautiful scenery, and similar compatible uses.
We wish to support the recommendations in this matter of the Panel on Oceanography of the President's Science Advisory Committee (Sec. 3.0, "Modification of the Ocean Environment” in Effective Use of the Sea, June 1966). The Panel concluded : "Establishment of a system of marine wilderness preserves (would be) an extension to marine environments of the basic principles established in the Wilderness Act of 1964 . . . In the present context, specific reasons for such preserves include: (a) provision of ecological baselines against which to compare modified areas; (b) preservation of major types of unmodified habitats for research and education in marine sciences; (c) provision of continuing opportunities for marine wilderness recreation".
There is enthusiastic nationwide support for this dramatic and appealing concept. When we circulated our views on these bills several months ago, we invariably received a favorable response, a reaction from editorials, letters and other comments more positive than we have received on any other issue recently endorsed by the Sierra Club.
The Providence Journal (Rhode Island, 8-18–67) observed : “The Sierra Club correctly points out that the move is not prompted by any desire to keep oil companies from developing potential resources.” The editorial stated that the earlier American experience of unchecked waste on the western frontier "demonstrates the wisdom of planning now to save the best underwater areas not least along New England's rocky shore”.
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch (8-25–67) continued in the same vein : "Man has only begun to learn about the potential beneficence of the sea, and he will not learn as much as he should unless some areas of undersea wilderness are protected from mineral exploitation and shore pollution".
"Most disinterested persons would agree that undersea areas of wilderness quality should not be unnecessarily damaged”, said the Baltimore Sun (8–21–67). “It won't be long before man starts re-creating his land environment under the sea and the job of Congress is to see that he doesn't re-create his problems as well."
Here is but a sample of the editorial reaction. There was no disagreement in principle with the establishment of sanctuaries; there was unanimity that studies be conducted, as the bills propose, in order to determine how these sanctuaries should be dedicated.
The Torrey Canyon accident, and similar pollution disasters at Puerto Rico and the Bahamas, have no doubt focused public attention upon the future of our ocean resources and heightened the enthusiastic response to the sanctuaries bills. It is dramatically evident to those of us who live in the Santa Barbara region that we need wise planning for protection of our offshore environment from the many conflicts arising because of the oil development programs in the outer shelf.
The communities here for over forty years have protected their hillside and ocean setting by a combination of architectural and zoning measures, and prohibition against smoke and fumes. In the near-ocean on the other side of the channel lie the Channel Islands, described by the Park Service as "the greatest remaining opportunity for preservation of representative seashore values" and designated as a prospective national park in several bills now before Congress H.R. 911 (Moss), H.R. 5457 (Miller), and H.R. 6108 (Burton) all introduced in 1967. The communities in this Mediterranean-type climatic and scenic areas, with an international reputation as the “Riveria of the West”, discover virtually overnight that their birthright is in jeopardy. Their renowned attractions are being threatened by a forest of twenty-two storyhigh drilling derricks offshore and the pollution from oil activity as fabulous oil reserves are being developed almost at the community's front door.
Santa Barbara community leaders, civic groups, conservationists and the citizenry in general have been dismayed by the failure of the oil interests and the federal government to consider adequately the masterplanning of the Channel so that all values can be given proper weight in a balanced use of the various channel resources. The oil companies are the first pioneers of the shelf and frankly they are pursuing their single purpose objectives at the expense of practically every other resource in the Channel. The people locally are seeing more clearly every day as new drilling barges and platforms move in that this unilateral development is going to wreck one of the nation's most beautiful tourist centers. This is needless destruction when the technology is available to obtain the oil without wholesale damage to the scene and the ecology. Oil rights must not be permitted to obliterate the rights of Americans to enjoy uncluttered ocean views, unpolluted seacapes and beaches, and unimpaired fisheries. A series of residential communities that have been conscientious about zoning on shore are shocked to find themselves powerless to insist on zoning and other orderly balanced development principles of planning allocation of uses offshore. They have been completely dominated and overwhelmed by the power politics of the oil companies.
And the question they ask themselves as good Americans and as stewards of their shoreline for the benefit of all those citizens in the nation that do not live near an ocean is simply this—if we cannot save our coastline in view of our devotion to conservation traditions how can other communities be effective either in saving theirs. In a sense the channel then offers one of the most significant opportunities in the nation to establish a model or test area for the protection of shoreline resources.
Portions of the extensive Santa Barbara Channel are listed in some of the sanctuary bills for study as potential marine reserves. Certainly here is a region in which an “ecological baseline” is necessary, to quote the Science Advisory Committee report, "against which to compare modified areas". The Channel as a meeting place of colder northern and warmer southern currents is especially conspicuous for the richness and variety of its biota.
The Park Service observes that the five Channel Islands “exhibit a unique combination of islands, seashore, and related marine values, including plant and animal life resulting from a million-year isolation from the mainland, extraordinary marine fauna (sea elephants, fur seals, sea lions, sea otters), great rookeries of nesting sea birds, and significant geological structures and processes . . Dr. Thomas C. Poulter, Senior Scientific Advisor and Director, Biological Sonar Laboratory, Stanford Research Institute, states that the elephant seal rookery on San Miguel Island (Point Bennett) is the most important such rookery along the entire coastline of the United States and every effort should be made to protect it."
These waters at San Miguel Island, for example, should be studied cooperatively by the State of California and the federal government under the terms of Section 3 (b) and Section 4 (b) of the Sanctuary bills, providing for such cooperation as a basis for evaluating the feasibility of establishing a protective zone.
The Sierra Club and its members along the Atlantic Coast are troubled by the conflicts arising between oil exploration and development at such important fishing grounds as the Georges Bank. The fish kills from undersea seismic testing; the pollution dangers from tanker accidents; the flushing of bilges in the fishing areas; the constant threat of the oily mess from an oil well blow-out; all of these hazards that can be anticipated when oil activity is intensified are a major concern to us.
We believe that both the Georges Bank and the Santa Barbara Channel should be given priority consideration as model study areas in which to pioneer the sanctuary concept where answers to the complicated conflicts between mineralindustrial development and the need to protect the natural environment for scenic, scientific, recreational, fishery and other purposes can be weighed and balanced.
The Sierra Club is impressed with the Section 3 provisions in the bills that require consultation in the study program with interested agencies, public and private organizations; the coordination of federal studies to the extent feasible, with applicable planing activities; and the scheduling of hearings in areas contiguous to the proposed sanctuary sites. The provision in Section 4 on the moratoriums upon mineral exploration and development in study areas also, we believe, is essential.
The requirement under Section 5 that the Secretary of the Interior shall submit the results of his studies to Congress through the President within two years after the date of this act should, we believe, be revised to allow the Secretary to submit through the President annually, on a two year basis, the result of any studies that are completed pursuant to the other provisions of the bill. During the lengthy two year period between passage of the bill and the submission of study recommendations certain potential marine sanctuaries might be preempted for other uses.
We know that during the westward migration along the American frontier vast wildlife and land resources were unnecessarily destroyed. The resources of the ocean frontier must not be similarly wasted. The Sierra Club firmly supports the principles of these bills designed to save some of the best examples of our ocean environment in a system of wilderness ecological reserves.
Boston, Mass., April 8, 1968. Hon. ALTON LENNON, Chairman, Subcommittee on Oceanography, House Office Building, Washington, D.C.:
The Atlantic Fishermen's Union of Boston, Gloucester, and New York wishes to be recorded in favor of the Marines Sanctuary Study Act, H.R. 11584.
JAMES B. ACKERT, President, Atlantic Fishermen's Union.
NEW BEDFORD FISHERMEN'S UNION,
New Bedford, Mass., April 2, 1968. Hon, ALTON LENNON, Chairman, Subcommittee on Oceanography, Rayburn House Office Building, Washington, D.C.
DEAR SIR: The officers and membership of this organization are hopeful for a favorable report by your committee on H.R. 11584, The Marine Sanctuary Study Act.
The Georges Bank area which lies east of the New England coast is undoubtedly one of the most productive fishing areas of the world. It is also the spawning grounds for the majority of the species of fish which are commercially significant to the East Coast Fishing Industry.
The consequence of indiscriminate mineral exploration and/or construction of structures for said exploration and production of these resources would be the desecration of one of nature's more important contributions to the area's and even the world's food supply. This could also mean the eventual elimination of the access to this area to the fishing industry and this, of course, would be a severe economic blow to New England fishing interests.
We feel that an extensive study must be undertaken to determine the impact of such action taken especially by oil interests. Sincerely yours,
AUSTIN P. SKINNER,
SEAFOOD PRODUCERS' ASSOCIATION,
New Bedford, Mass., April 4, 1968. Mr. ALTON LENNON, Chairman, Subcommittee on Oceanography, Merchant Marine and Fisheries
Committee, House of Representatives, Washington, D.C. DEAR SIR: The Seafood Producers Association of New Bedford, Mass. wishes to record itself in favor of Bill H.R. 11584, titled: "The Marine Sanctuaries Study Act of 1967.” Passage of this bill, authorizing a study to preserve marine resource areas is imperative. We also request that a sum up to $1,000,000 be authorized and appropriated for this Act.
The preservation of the Outer Continental Shelf for commercial and sport fishing, as well as the conservation of wildlife, are of extreme importance to our New England states and Massachusetts in particular. The commercial fishing industry, which accounts for nearly one-fifth the economy of Greater New Bedford, is dependent on that area for its source of fishery products. Any disturbance of our fishery resources will most certainly tend to disperse and injure our fishery stocks.
Traditionally, the Georges Bank and Nantucket Shoals areas have been the main source of fish which our fishermen harvest in order to derive their livelihood. There are 218 commercial fishing vessels of various types sailing from New Bedford to the fishing grounds. The production of these vessels influences the livelihood of about 3300 people who, either directly or indirectly, earn some part of their income from commercial fishing. In the last few years there has been an invasion of our traditional fishing grounds by foreign nationals. This competition adds to the dilemna of our fishermen who are now severely handicapped by trying to fish and compete in an already crowded area with vessels of other nations which are, in most cases, wholly subsidized and do not necessarily have to operate at a profit. The following table will illustrate the downward trend of our production, because we already are sharing these fishing grounds with fishermen from other countries :