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Court denies Commission motion to dismiss Coastside MLPA lawsuit
by Dan Bacher
Thursday Feb 2nd, 2012 9:10 PM
"The corrupt and illegal MLPA Initiative process will be exposed and overturned eventually," said John Lewallen, North Coast environmental leader and co-founder of the Ocean Protection Coalition and North Coast Seaweed Rebellion. "The brave fishermen and fisherwomen of Coastside Fishing Club are protecting ocean access and government by the people, now under assault by private corporate interests."

Map of North Central Coast "marine protected areas." The Coastside Fishing Club in December filed an appeal with California's 4th District Court of Appeal in its challenge of the North Central Coast MLPA regulations
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640_nccmpas_1.jpg

Court denies Commission motion to dismiss Coastside MLPA lawsuit

by Dan Bacher

On January 30, the Fourth District Court of Appeal in San Diego denied a motion by the Fish and Game Commission to dismiss the Coastside Fishing Club's appeal of an unfavorable court ruling regarding the imposition of so-called "marine protected areas" on the North Central Coast of California under the controversial Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) Initiative.

"We just received good news from the Court of Appeal — it denied the Commission’s motion," according to a statement from the Coastside Fishing Club. "Coastside’s appeal may therefore go forward and be heard on the merits."

"This is definitely a win for us," said Robert C. Fletcher, the former president of the Sportfishing Association of California, "since the Attorney General’s Office, representing the Commission, has repeatedly tried to block our appeal."

"If the court finds merit to Coastside's arguments, they will vacate the Commission’s adoption of the North Coast MLPA regulations and force them to go back to the drawing board. This will have implications not only for the North Central Coast, but for the South Coast as well," said Fletcher.

In October 2011, Coastside, United Anglers of Southern California and Robert C. Fletcher in October suffered the first setback in their legal campaign targeting ocean fishing closures imposed under the Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) Initiative. The unpopular initiative is privately funded by the shadowy Resources Legacy Fund Foundation.

Ronald S. Prager, San Diego Superior Court judge, rejected arguments that the Commission exceeded its authority when it approved new "marine protected areas" on the North Central Coast from Pigeon Point in San Mateo County to Alder Point in Mendocino County that went into effect on May 1, 2010.

On December 15, 2011, the Club filed a Notice of Appeal, appealing the trial court’s denial of Coastside’s claims that the Fish and Game Commission "lacked statutory authority and failed to follow required procedures" in adopting the North Central Coast marine protected areas (MPAs) and MPA regulations.

All of the remaining claims brought by United Anglers and Fletcher, including the South Coast regulatory authority and CEQA claims, as well as the Coastal Act claims, are still pending in the trial court. A trial date has not yet been set.

On January 9, 2012, the Commission filed a motion in the Court of Appeal to dismiss Coastside’s appeal, arguing that Coastside must wait to appeal until all of the remaining claims still pending in the trial court have been resolved.

Grassroots environmental leaders fighting the Marine Life Protection Act Initiative applauded the Appeal Court's decision.

"The corrupt and illegal MLPA Initiative process will be exposed and overturned eventually," said John Lewallen, North Coast environmental leader and co-founder of the Ocean Protection Coalition and North Coast Seaweed Rebellion. "The brave fishermen and fisherwomen of Coastside Fishing Club are protecting ocean access and government by the people, now under assault by private corporate interests."

The initiative, overseen by a big oil lobbyist, marina developer, coastal real estate executive, agribusiness hack and other corporate operatives with many conflicts of interest, is a process that directly parallels the equally corrupt and corporate-controlled Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP) to build a peripheral canal.

The MLPA Initiative creates so-called "marine protected areas," supported by Safeway Stores, Walmart and the Western States Petroleum Association, that fail to protect the ocean from oil spills and drilling, pollution, military testing, corporate aquaculture, wave and wind energy projects and all other human impacts on the ocean than fishing and gathering.

In an overt conflict of interest, Catherine Reheis-Boyd, the president of the Western States Petroleum Association, chaired the "august body" that designed the "marine protected areas" that went into effect on the Southern California Coast on January 1. Reheis-Boyd, a big oil industry lobbyist advocating for new offshore drilling off the California coast, the Keystone XL pipeline and the gutting of environmental laws, chaired the MLPA Blue Ribbon Task Force for the South Coast, as well as "serving" on the North Central Coast and North Coast Task Forces.

While MLPA advocates have claimed that the initiative is "open, transparent and inclusive," it is instructive that MLPA and state officials refused to appoint any tribal scientists to the MLPA Science Advisory Team (SAT). This was in spite of the fact that the Yurok Tribe alone has a Natural Resources Department with over 70 staff members, including scientists. The MLPA Blue Ribbon Task Force also didn't include any tribal representatives until 2010 when one was finally appointed to the panel.

For more information about the litigation against the MLPA, go to: http://www.oceanaccessprotectionfund.org.

Comments  (Hide Comments)

by Harvest McCampbll
Sunday Feb 12th, 2012 3:23 PM
Support S.J.Res. 33: "A joint resolution proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the United States to expressly exclude for-profit corporations from the rights given to natural persons by the Constitution of the United States, prohibit corporate spending in all elections, and affirm the authority of Congress and the States to regulate corporations and to regulate and set limits on all election contributions and expenditures."

Use the following URL to let the public and your congressional reps know you support S.J. Res.33:
http://www.popvox.com/bills/us/112/sjres33/report#nation

Only 551 people have come forward to express their opinion so far. Let's show the world that we have not forgotten how democracy works by making democracy work for the people.