Meeting to address Lake Michigan ‘marine sanctuary’

Posted at 11:45 a.m. on September 25, 2017

The Brillion News

MANITOWOC – The Manitowoc County Lakes Association will hold a public meeting this Thursday, September 28, at 6:30 p.m. in Room 300 of the Manitowoc County Office Complex, 4319 Expo Drive, Manitowoc, to look at the proposed federal Marine Sanctuary off of the Manitowoc County shoreline in Lake Michigan.

Russ Green, Regional Coordinator of the NOAA Office of National Marine Sanctuaries, will discuss the role of the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration on Lake Michigan and the status of the proposed Marine Sanctuary.

Information about the proposal is available at https://sanctuaries.noaa.gov/wisconsin/.

Green is also the Deputy Superintendent at the Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary working there for the past 13 years. He has also worked for the Wisconsin Historical Society as a maritime archaeologist. Questions and commentary from the audience will be encouraged.

The proposal has drawn criticism from some conservative political groups. According to a press release from the MacIver News Service, opponents see the protection effort as taking a piece of Wisconsin’s sovereignty, creating another federal bureaucracy, and unnecessarily costing taxpayers money.

The Wisconsin Conservative Coalition, a nonpartisan association of four northeast Wisconsin conservative/Tea Party groups questions the proposed sanctuary

“The Constitution of the United States gives no authority of the federal government to have this kind of initiative. It’s reserved to the states.” said coalition chairman Ron Zahn, of rural Wrightstown. Zahn is a former Lutheran school principal active in the NEW Patriots organization.

Zahn and others opposed to NOAA’s plan say the proposal is an incursion on Wisconsin’s Tenth Amendment rights.

NOAA officials assert the proposed sanctuary, discussed for more than a decade, isn’t meant to step on states’ rights. The proposed 1,075-square-mile conservation zone would “protect 37 shipwrecks and related underwater cultural resources that possess exceptional historic, archeological, and recreational value.”

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