A group of concerned riparian owners has researched NOAA’s proposal and read hundreds of pages of proposed regulations, the draft Environmental Impact Statement for the Sanctuary; financial statements, two economic studies of Alpena, MI, (home of the Thunder Bay Sanctuary), the National Marine Sanctuary Act, litigation against NOAA and research on NOAA’s conduct in other Marine Sanctuaries. We have visited Alpena, read every public comment submitted to NOAA and filed numerous FOIA requests.
We found serious overriding problems which would affect every user of the Lake and its shoreline and every unit of government. NOAA has made glowing claims but has not presented all the facts.
We don’t believe NOAA has been forthright in their cooperation with citizens. NOAA declined a request for a public forum to discuss the pros and cons of the Sanctuary. When we asked to have one representative on any advisory council NOAA told us that “the DNR could represent our interests.” Any property owner in Wisconsin would be apprehensive to have the DNR represent their interests on environmental matters material to their property value.
In the private sector, NOAA’s tactics would be considered fraud. The uninformed consent given by the various government and not-for-profit boards is a breach of fiduciary duty. The private sector would never sign away control of a priceless and material asset based solely on the statements of a salesman.
We welcome NOAA’s help and expertise. However, the Sanctuary is a house of cards built on a foundation of nothing. We do not believe Wisconsin should give up over a thousand square miles of territorial sovereignty to duplicate existing services and further educate our citizens. We welcome a real public discussion on this issue — one based on reviewing costs as well as benefits, not a sell job about “vision” and the big blue sky.