On April 20, the National Wildlife Federation (NWF) announced that it will request the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to establish an international tribunal to review the Gulf’s proposed proposed marine reserve.
The NWF claims that the proposed marine protected area is not “consistent with federal, state, and local laws and regulations,” and that it is an “outdated and costly plan.”
The NWFs goal is to establish a tribunal that will rule on the Gulfs claim to jurisdiction over the entire Gulf.
The new request for the EPA to review marine protected areas is just the latest step in a long-running struggle over the Gulf.
In April 2015, the NWF announced its intent to petition the EPA in a lawsuit over the proposed Gulf Reserve.
In June 2016, the EPA released its final draft environmental impact statement on the proposed Marine Reserve, and in September 2016, a final draft of the proposed reserve was released.
On September 28, 2016, President Donald Trump signed the proposed regulations into law.
The regulations require the federal government to manage the Gulf Reserve by requiring the federal agencies involved in the project to establish clear criteria for the protection of marine life.
In a press release, the federal Department of Interior (DOI) called the proposed regulation “a critical step towards safeguarding the fragile Gulf of the Okoboji.”
The proposed regulation also contains an “essential requirement” that states and local governments agree to: “States and localities shall have the right to require, and will have the authority to require or require compliance with, environmental assessments of any proposed project, and States and local jurisdictions shall have legal standing to require that such environmental assessments include the most appropriate methods to ensure protection of endangered species and the environment.”
The new regulations also include a provision requiring that states that propose a marine protected environment have a plan to protect the marine life within the proposed protected area.
The Marine Reserve would be located in the Gulf in an area that includes the Gulf Coast, the Gulf Islands, and other waters.
The federal government will have power to require the state and local government to establish, implement, and maintain requirements to protect endangered species within the reserve, and to provide compensation to owners of land adjacent to the reserve for damage to protected species or their habitat.
The proposed marine reserves are located in five states: Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas.
The National Wildlife Association has been working for years to create marine protected environments for the region, and now it is pushing for federal action to protect marine life in the region.
This past fall, the group filed a lawsuit against the EPA and the states in federal court over the Marine Reserve and Gulf Reserve, arguing that the regulations violated the federal Clean Water Act, the Endangered Species Act, and the Endangerment Finding.
The groups lawsuit challenges the federal regulations in part on the grounds that they are inconsistent with state and federal laws and the federal Endangered Wildlife Act.
The government claims that there are “no adequate or adequate scientific or technical studies” supporting the proposed reserves.
In addition to the proposed wetlands, the new regulation requires the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to develop a comprehensive plan to preserve and manage the entire marine protected region.
The EPA and DOI have also been reviewing the proposed conservation plans, which they claim are “based on scientific studies that have not been adequately reviewed.”
In December, the DOI issued a “fact sheet” outlining the proposed project.
It states that “the proposed Marine Reserves plan would be a comprehensive, interagency management plan to restore habitat and biodiversity in the Atlantic and Gulf regions, which includes an integrated plan to manage impacts to protected habitat.”
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has been reviewing similar proposals from the Gulf, and last month, the agency said that it would “consider and consider” the NWFs proposal in conjunction with the EPA’s review.