Press Release

Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary ‘Review’ Officially Closed

ELPC Commends U.S. Department of Commerce and NOAA Decision to Formally Close the Trump Administration’s Misguided Proposal to Cut by 90% the Size of the Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary

Statement by Howard Learner, Executive Director, Environmental Law & Policy Center 

“The Environmental Law & Policy Center (ELPC) commends the U.S. Department of Commerce and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) for officially withdrawing and closing the Trump administration’s ‘review’, proposing to cut the size of the popular Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary in Lake Huron by 90%. The headquarters and visitors’ center are in Alpena, Michigan.

“The Trump administration’s War on the Great Lakes included this proposal to cut by 90% the nation’s only freshwater National Marine Sanctuary. NOAA’s Director of the Office of National Marine Sanctuaries’ letter this week concludes and brings this misguided Trump proposal to its well-deserved end.

“ELPC coordinated a letter on behalf of 15 co-signer Great Lakes organizations to U.S. Department of Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo asking the Department to withdraw the Trump administration’s proposal. NOAA’s response states that the previous review, which would have greatly constricted the boundaries of Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary, has been rescinded, and the Department and NOAA now “consider the matter closed.” Ending this misguided proposal was consistent with President Biden’s direction to all agency heads to review “agency actions.”

“The Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary is the nation’s only freshwater marine sanctuary, and is a special place that’s enjoyed by tourists, school children and scuba divers. The visitor center and tours offer a unique and important maritime and trade history of the Great Lakes. The Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary is famous for “Shipwreck Alley,” an area with a large number and variety of ships now lying at the bottom of Lake Huron.”

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