[Coral-List] What agency should list corals under the Endangered species act?

Dennis Hubbard dennis.hubbard at oberlin.edu
Thu Mar 28 11:52:03 EDT 2013


My point was not to suggest that we spend a lot of time figuring out which
agency is the "best" repository for responsibility nor to expect that we
could even pull it off if one existed. It was just an observation that,
whichever crooks we turn the keys over to, issues are going to be reduced
to monetary terms - hence the need to place a price on an acre of salt
marsh or coral reef to encourage any movement at all toward legal actions
to protect nature.....until we realize that we're all on life support and
are trying to get the best price for our respirator on eBay.

My sense is that the US's founding fathers created a presidency plus two
houses of congress and a bunch of cloistered judges for two reasons. First,
they were as unruly a bunch as the Coral Listserve - and Madison, Jefferson
and others realized that opinions were widely separated regarding the
relative role of the republic and individual states. Second, they realized
what might happen in an administration overwhelmingly dominated by one
party/view came into power unless some fairly significant roadblocks were
set into place to a) slow the process of law-making down and b) require
compromises. I suspect that had they foreseen our recent occupants of
Congress, they would have just elected Washington  king and adjourned to
the pub.

No need to follow up with constitutional debates.


On Thu, Mar 28, 2013 at 11:12 AM, Will Nuckols <wnuckols at erols.com> wrote:

> DOC has commerce/trade as a mission, yes, but DOI has extraction based
> bureaus whose oil and gas and mining interests are often at odds with the
> interests of the NPS or USFWS.
> The oddity of the NOAA in DOC and USFWS in DOI split has to me to do more
> with efficiencies which might be less effective through things like
> MOAs/MOUs than having combined staffs. The arguments about keeping the
> DOC/NOAA and DOI bureaus separate have many facets, but rather than delve
> into those public policy issues, to your specific question about DOC vs.
> I believe at the end of the day what matters primarily is who the
> Secretaries are in those Departments.  The President has tapped Sally
> Jewell, known for positions on terrestrial issues and largely untested
> about
> her positions on ocean issues (other than some questions asked in her
> nomination hearing in Committee in the Senate on oil and gas drilling
> offshore), to be the Secretary of the Interior.  Her nomination has passed
> out of Committee en route to the floor, but a date for a floor vote is not
> yet announced.
> At DOC the Department has lacked a Secretary since last summer, and as of
> yet no nominee to fill the vacancy has been announced. And with Dr.
> Lubchenco having left her post NOAA's top slot is vacant too (as are other
> NOAA political Senate confirmed positions).
> Perhaps rather than where corals' protection resides, a focus on who runs
> those Departments is a course of action that concerned coral lovers could
> take. Looking to the Administration to select nominees who will protect the
> resources, and to the Senate to inquire about the nominees intentions, is
> something the community can do this year.
> Looking to move agencies or alter the jurisdiction of agencies over coral
> resources requires specific actions by Congress, and in addition to the
> general gridlock problem it also treads into areas that require multiple
> Committees to work together in both Houses of Congress. That bar may be too
> high and take too long, especially for species who are on, or dangerously
> near, the brink of no return.
> A focus on getting quality people into the political leadership positions
> for the second term may be the best investment of one's time.
> Will Nuckols
> Principal
> W.H. Nuckols Consulting
> -----Original Message-----
> From: coral-list-bounces at coral.aoml.noaa.gov
> [mailto:coral-list-bounces at coral.aoml.noaa.gov] On Behalf Of Dennis
> Hubbard
> Sent: Wednesday, March 27, 2013 12:22 PM
> To: Eugene Shinn
> Cc: coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov
> Subject: Re: [Coral-List] What agency should list corals under the
> Endangered species act?
> Gene makes an excellent point. I've always been uncomfortable placing any
> environmental oversight into an agency in which economy has any significant
> priority. This is not to say that there are not many intelligent and
> well-motivated individuals within that group. However, this association
> necessarily monetizes nature.
> Certainly we scientists might benefit from occasional fiscal reality, but
> it
> seems more appropriate that an agency tasked to oversee commerce (i.e., to
> see that it proceeds smoothly) should be one of the commenting parties and
> not the one setting natural-resource policy.... unless of course we see
> corals and the like as entities that primarily contribute to healthy
> commerce.
> Dennis
> On Tue, Mar 26, 2013 at 2:58 PM, Eugene Shinn
> <eugeneshinn at mail.usf.edu>wrote:
> > *What agency should list corals under the Endangered Species Act?*
> >
> > Dear Listers,
> >
> > Because of a petition from the tax exempt Center for Biodiversity,
> > NOAA National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) will in all probability
> > list 7 common Atlantic corals as threatened and upgrade /Acropora/
> > species to endangered.My question is, should the listing be
> > accomplished by an agency under the Deparment of Commerce? Is there a
> conflict of interest?
> > Should instead the Department of Interior, e.g., National Park Service
> > or Fish and Wildlife, be the official listing agency? Why do I bring
> > this up?
> >
> > My concern is because any agency under the Department of Commerce that
> > also supports research is not likely to ban or regulate products, or
> > activities, that may negatively affect commerce and/or economics. For
> > example: suppose the "gold standard" 96-hr LD-50 bioassay demonstrated
> > that the mosquito pesticides Dibrom, Nalid, and Malathion, commonly
> > sprayed in the Florida Keys, is detrimental to corals?
> >
> > That finding would present a problem if not an onerous catch-22
> > situation because banning these substances could have a huge negative
> > effect on the Florida Keys economy, especially the all-important
> > tourist economy.Ironically, after all these years of coral reef
> > research, no one has yet performed this straightforward bioassay, even
> > though it is well known that these pesticides affect marine life as
> > well mosquitoes and butterflies. Note that the Department of Interior
> > does not allow spraying of these toxic substances in their parks or on
> > park-owned property on Key Largo. Such spraying is also not allowed
> > over the State-owned Florida Keys Marine Laboratory on Long Key. The
> > toxic effects there are well known to marine scientists. I won't bring
> > up the endangered Key Largo Wood Rat that is used to curtail
> > commercial activities on State lands on North Key Largo .
> >
> > But not to worry, if /Acropora/ status is elevated to "endangered," it
> > will likely be impossible to conduct those needed bioassays because by
> > its very nature the LD-50 test requires the sacrificing of some
> > organisms. This bioassay basically determines the level of a substance
> > required to kill 50 percent of the organisms in a 96-hr period. That
> > badly long-needed information could then be used to determine if such
> > levels are present in marine waters off the Florida Keys, including
> > the saline groundwater beneath the keys that ultimately upwells
> > offshore. I have to wonder why this simple test has never been done?
> > Since these tests have not been attempted after all the years of
> > concern about dying corals, it seems unlikely the tests will likely
> > happen while it may still be legal to conduct them. Catch-22?
> >
> > On the other hand, if the Department of Interior were to be in charge
> > of listing (they already have control of corals under their
> > jurisdiction at Dry Tortugas National Park, Biscayne National Park,
> > and Everglades National Park), there would be no conflict. Because of
> > their philosophy, the Park Service is generally not constrained by
> effects
> on commerce.
> >
> > One might add that similar LD-50 bioassays should be conducted on
> > sunscreens. Sunscreens are banned from use by swimmers in coral reef
> > marine parks in Mexico. Do the Mexican authorities know something we
> > do not?
> >
> > One can only imagine other activities that will be affected once these
> > new endangered species acts go into effect. One might also wonder why
> > we presently have 3 federal and 1 state agency protecting corals?
> >
> >   Gene
> >
> >
> > --
> >
> >
> > No Rocks, No Water, No Ecosystem (EAS)
> > ------------------------------------
> > -----------------------------------
> > E. A. Shinn, Courtesy Professor
> > University of South Florida
> > College of Marine Science Room 221A
> > 140 Seventh Avenue South
> > St. Petersburg, FL 33701
> > <eugeneshinn at mail.usf.edu>
> > Tel 727 553-1158
> > ---------------------------------- -----------------------------------
> >
> > _______________________________________________
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> > Coral-List at coral.aoml.noaa.gov
> > http://coral.aoml.noaa.gov/mailman/listinfo/coral-list
> >
> --
> Dennis Hubbard
> Dept of Geology-Oberlin College Oberlin OH 44074
> (440) 775-8346
> * "When you get on the wrong train.... every stop is the wrong stop"*
> Benjamin Stein: "*Ludes, A Ballad of the Drug and the Dream*"
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Dennis Hubbard
Dept of Geology-Oberlin College Oberlin OH 44074
(440) 775-8346

* "When you get on the wrong train.... every stop is the wrong stop"*
 Benjamin Stein: "*Ludes, A Ballad of the Drug and the Dream*"

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