SF Bay Area Indymedia indymedia
About Contact Subscribe Calendar Publish Print Donate

California | North Bay / Marin | North Coast | San Diego | Environment & Forest Defense | Government & Elections

Conflicts of Interest/Corruption in the MLPA Initiative
by David Gurney, Jugglestone Productions
Wednesday Jul 28th, 2010 3:11 PM
Many do not feel that the head of the Western States Petroleum Association is there out of her voluntary concern for the ocean. She has been lobbying for more drilling off the coast, even after the recent Gulf Oil Disaster. She is there to look out for oil interests, in both the placement of no-fishing MPA’s, and making sure MPA’s do not interfere with oil and energy related operations - now or in the future.
Conflicts of Interest/Corruption in the MLPA Initiative

by David Gurney

So far, there are at least three major conflicts of interest in the Marine Life Protection Act Initiative (MLPAI) under the Schwarzenegger administration.

1. The $18 million dollars of known investment by the Packard Foundation will allow “scientists” unlimited take from MPA’s with “scientific collection permits” - for so-called research and educational purposes. The Monterey Bay Aquarium qualifies for this exemption on licensing fees and oversight by DFG in activities where fish and wildlife are taken, since aquariums are considered “educational.”

But scientist/fishermen charge for “services” rather than the number of fish or animals taken, when these creatures are sold to aquariums. There are now significant numbers of large aquariums, private and public, all over the world. There also quite a few in Chinatown.

2. Oil company involvement in the MLPAI process - with the presence of Catherine Reheis-Boyd - on the so-called “Blue Ribbon Task Force.”

Boyd at one point in the Southern California region was chair of this “task force.” The task force is simply a rubber stamp filter in their process, making sure the needs of major private and corporate interests are met, despite the wishes of coastal residents on the lower tier “Regional Stakeholder Group.”

Many do not feel that the head of the Western States Petroleum Association is there out of her voluntary concern for the ocean. She has been lobbying for more drilling off the coast, even after the recent Gulf Oil Disaster. She is there to look out for oil interests, in both the placement of no-fishing MPA’s, and making sure MPA’s do not interfere with oil and energy related operations - now or in the future.

3. The California Department of Fish and Game itself. This notoriously corrupt and inept regulatory body stands to hugely benefit from the MLPAI. Huge closed area will require major investment in new vessels, equipment and personnel - making the DFG a virtual navy - to patrol and enforce MPA’s.

The opportunity and temptation for major corruption in granting the DFG power control over vast areas of ocean is undeniable. This agency, that within our lifetimes has mismanaged California fisheries into oblivion, will now take control of the ocean. The DFG should be disbanded and re-formed by a truly representative group, to create sustainable local fisheries.

By the way, in most, if not all other states this, department is called “Fish and Wildlife.” The word “Game” refers to hunted meat, usually dead.

Previous conflict of interest/corruption charges have been made against:

- Michael Sutton - sits on the CF&G Commission, while a board member of the Monterey Bay Aquarium. Scientific Collection Permit issues were raised, but no charges filed. He previously worked as programs officer for Packard Foundation.

- So. Cal. BRTF members Bill Anderson and Greg Schem. Both marina and real estate developers, they made an agreement to “sign off on everything else” as long as a reserve was not placed at Rocky Point, between Redondo Beach and Long Beach, where both had marinas and business interests.

In addition, the DFG failed to investigate an incident where the MLPAI was engaged in underwater sonar marine mapping, and in the process killed a 72-foot female blue whale. The vessel was in gross violation of the law, by being not in possession of the required permit, nor operating under the terms of that permit. The incident occurred in California State Waters, under the jurisdiction of the DFG, yet that agency failed to conduct it's mandated duty to investigate and enforce the law.

But since the DFG is involved in the MLPAI process, and stands to hugely benefit in its outcome, it must be thoroughly investigated whether or not this was a matter of gross negligence, or part of intentional cover-up to deny the involvement of the MLPAI in this tragic incident.

A video of the protest and march against the corrupt and illegal MLPAI will be shown on MCET Channel 3
on Wednesday July 28th at 8:00 P.M.

There will also be a video of the Cahto Dance Ceremony held at Howard Creek Beach on May 29, 2010 will be shown at 7:00P.M. that same evening.