Charlie Crist Urges U.S. Interior Department More Protection For Manatees
By Kevin Darby, Sunshine State News // March 30, 2018
Florida manatee’s status changed from “endangered” to “threatened”
(Sunshine State News) – This week, U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist, D-Fla., once again urged the U.S. Interior Department to reverse its decision downgrading the Florida manatee’s status from “endangered” to “threatened.”
In April 2017, Crist signed a letter led by U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-Fla., to U.S. Interior Sec. Ryan Zinke opposing the decision. Other signers included U.S. Rep. Dan Webster, R-Fla., and Florida Democrats U.S. Reps. Kathy Castor, Val Demings, Ted Deutch, Alcee Hastings, Stephanie Murphy, Darren Soto, Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Frederica Wilson.
“We urge you to reconsider and reverse the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service decision last week to downgrade protections for the Florida manatee,” the representatives wrote Zinke.
“This decision was disappointing and potentially very harmful to the survival of the iconic Florida animal. Despite the agency’s assertion that a downlisting from endangered to threatened would not affect federal protections for the manatee, the move could cause a broader reassessment of critical state and local protections for the animals. In fact, just days after this rule proposal was announced, the Brevard County commissioners approved a resolution requesting that the Florida Legislature review slow-speed zones currently in place for boats and called for a reconsideration of the state’s Manatee Sanctuary Act, which established protections for manatees and their habitats in several counties, including Sarasota and Manatee.”
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