Environmental Impact Statement for Coast Guard Pacific Area Operations in Districts 11 and 13

SEATTLE – Coast Guard Pacific Area, Calif., announced December 22, 2008, the availability of the draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for Coast Guard operations in District 13 (Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Montana) and District 11 (California).

Pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, the Coast Guard has prepared the draft EIS to identify and assess potential impacts associated with possible changes to its operations in these areas.

The analysis presented in the draft EIS assists in the process of deciding the appropriate methods the Coast Guard should use to improve the protection and conservation of Marine Protected Species (MPS) and Marine Protected Areas (MPA) while continuing to perform its missions within Districts 11 and 13. It focuses on the environmental impacts of routine Coast Guard vessel and aircraft operations on MPS and MPAs when engaged in the following missions and activities: law enforcement, national security, search and rescue, aids to navigation, and oil pollution and vessel grounding response. The proposed action would serve to enhance the Coast Guard’s marine resource protection mission without compromising its ability to perform other missions.

“The Coast Guard has a robust living marine enforcement and protected species conservation program, enforcing the Endangered Species Act, Marine Mammal Protection Act, National Marine Sanctuaries Act, and other pertinent environmental regulations,” said Vice Adm. David Pekoske, Commander of Coast Guard Pacific Area. “We respond to entangled marine mammals and sea turtles and assist in transporting rehabilitated wildlife back to their natural habitat. We also provide opportunistic platforms for research and participate in regional multi-agency working groups, recovery teams and task forces to assist in developing effective management schemes.”

While the draft EIS evaluates the Coast Guard’s current efforts, it also considers various additional protection measures including revisions to vessel and aircraft speed and approach guidance, development of a regionally focused marine protected species awareness module to enhance personnel training, and strengthening and leveraging partnerships via collaborative outreach campaigns.

The Coast Guard is seeking public comment relating to the draft EIS. Copies of the draft EIS and supporting documents are available for review at the project web site, http://pacareaeis.uscg.e2m-inc.com. Please visit the website and learn more about the Coast Guard’s role in ocean stewardship.

To submit official comments on the draft EIS, you must identify your submission as “USCG docket number USCG-2006-24163” and send them to the Federal Docket Management Facility at the U.S. Department of Transportation. Comments and related material can be submitted using any of the following methods:

1) Online: http://www.regulations.gov (docket number: USCG-2006-24163)

2) Mail: Federal Docket Management Facility (USCG-2006-24163)

a. U.S. Department of Transportation

b. West Building, Ground Floor, Room W12-140

c. 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE

d. Washington, D.C. 20590-0001.

3) Hand delivery: Room W12-140, at above address, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. The telephone number is 202-366-9329.

4) Fax: 202-493-2251.

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