Turtle habitat designation for Bogue Banks draws concern

Published: Friday, August 9, 2013 at 06:43 PM.

Coastal management has carried out federal consistency reviews for 35 years, including other critical habitat proposals from the federal agency. The process allows a formal review process by the state and ensures proposals don’t contradict state rules.

To date, Davis said, the federal agency has declined to submit the proposed critical habitat designations for review by N.C. Coastal Management.

“As a result, our state is left to engage only through the public comment process,” he said. “After reaching out to my colleagues in all of the affected southeastern states from North Carolina to Mississippi, I can say that we are unanimous in requesting that you revisit your position on this, and submit the proposed rule through the appropriate process, which we believe is required under federal law.”

Several speakers expressed concern that the proposal is in reaction to potential legal action if there is not critical habitat designation.

“I understand this flows from the threat of litigation but as you’ve heard we’re doing a great job of protecting the turtles,” said Atlantic Beach Mayor Trace Cooper.

The public hearing was the final of three held this week in North Carolina and South Carolina on the proposal.

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