- NOAA provides no budget for the sanctuary – there is no accountability for taxpayer dollars. NOAA identifies five State agencies and five communities as “committed partners” to ensure the success of the Sanctuary. This potentially obligates them to make additional direct and indirect taxpayer dollar expenditures to the Sanctuary.Many people believe money for the Sanctuary would be better spent on the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, which is correcting identified problems and is in danger of defunding.
- User Fees: The National Marine Sanctuary Act allows NOAA to assess and collect fees for the conduct of any activity under a Special Use Permit. Per regulations, “The fees collected could be used to recover the administrative costs of issuing the permit, the cost of implementing the permit, and the fair market value of the use of sanctuary resources. “ [Emphasis added] This gives NOAA the right to charge the “fair market value” for activities we presently enjoy along the Lake. Could that be leisure activities like fishing, boat launching, installing a pier or lakefront festivals?
- Additional expenses to the taxpayer: The Draft Management Plan for the proposed sanctuary does not list a budget, only five broad categories of annual “operational funds” starting with a “base level” of a quarter million dollars and ranging up to $900,000
A minimally acceptable budget would include projected expenses and anticipated revenues, including taxpayer support. There is currently no accountability for the use of our taxpayer dollars. We are tired of writing blank checks, especially with a $20 trillion dollar federal deficit. Money for the sanctuary would be better spent on the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative that is actually correcting identified water quality and natural habitat problems.
At least five state agencies and five communities are identified as “committed partners” to ensure the success of the sanctuary, possibly obligating them to make additional taxpayer dollar expenditures to the Sanctuary. (Appendix 2, page 121 of the Draft Mgmnt Plan above).
- Beach combing prohibited: It is unlawful for any person to—
(1) destroy, cause the loss of, or injure any sanctuary resource managed under law or regulations for that sanctuary;
(2) possess, sell, offer for sale, purchase, import, export, deliver, carry, transport, or ship by any means any sanctuary resource taken in violation of this section.” A sanctuary resource means “any living or nonliving resource of a national marine sanctuary that contributes to the conservation, recreational, ecological, historical, educational, cultural, archeological, scientific, or aesthetic value of the sanctuary.