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Military Readiness and Southern Sea Otter Conservation Act (H.R. 4043)
May 16, 2012 Full Committee Markup

WASHINGTON, D.C., May 16, 2012 -

Reporting H.R. 4043 Out of Committee (Passed 24-13. View Roll Call Vote)
This bill would create Southern Sea Otter Military Readiness Areas in three specific areas off the southern California coast. Sea otter range expansion would go forward as determined by the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS). However, military activities in these three military readiness areas would not be in violation of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) or the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA), treating Southern sea otters in these areas as candidate species under the ESA. The bill would not require the removal of sea otters from the military readiness areas.

Fleming Amendment #001– FWS Cooperation (Agreed to 19-12. View Roll Call Vote)
This amendment struck paragraph (g) in the bill that would require an ecosystem management plan, carrying capacity provisions and continued implementation of the translocation plan. The amendment replaced paragraph (g) with provisions that would only be triggered if the FWS issues a final rule to end the sea otter translocation plan implemented through regulations authorized under P.L. 99-625. The new language would create a new paragraph in P.L. 99-625 to require the FWS, when planning and implementing ESA recovery and conservation actions for the southern sea otter, to coordinate and cooperate with the Navy, the Secretary of Commerce and the State of California. State fisheries south of Point Conception would continue to not be in violation of incidental take provisions in the ESA and MMPA, a status the fisheries had since 1986 under P.L. 99-625. However, the language does not preclude the State from closing fisheries that take sea otters. Lastly, the amendment would modify the monitoring section of the bill to include the Secretary of the Interior, to require annual monitoring, and to require the first report in 18 months of the bill’s enactment.

Sablan Amendment #001 (Not Agreed to by Voice Vote.)
This amendment would strike paragraph (g) from the bill and retain the bill language that would create the three military readiness areas off the southern coast of California.

* For complete legislative action for the May 16, 2012 Full Committee Markup, click here.

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