Resource Development Council

RDC Comment Letter:
Eastern Distinct Population Segment of the Steller Sea Lion

February 11, 2011

Assistant Regional Administrator
Protected Resources Division, NMFS
Alaska Regional Office
Attn.: Ellen Sebastian
P.O. Box 21668
Juneau, AK 99802-1668

Re: RIN 0648-XA046

To Whom It May Concern:

The Resource Development Council (RDC) is writing in response to the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) notice of a 90-day petition finding and request for information on the eastern distinct population segment (DPS) of the Steller sea lion.

RDC is a statewide business association comprised of individuals and companies from Alaska’s oil and gas, mining, forest products, tourism and fisheries industries. RDC’s membership includes Alaska Native Corporations, local communities, organized labor, and industry support firms. RDC’s purpose is to encourage a strong, diversified private sector in Alaska and expand the state’s economic base through the responsible development of our natural resources.

To address NMFS’ request published on December 13, 2010, RDC continues to support the delisting of the eastern DPS of the Steller sea lion. RDC concurs that the petition to delist the Eastern DPS is warranted, and encourages NMFS to take action without delay. This population is increasing and has been since the 1970s, and protection under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) is no longer necessary.

In addition, RDC encourages NMFS to address the issues and questions raised by the Marine Conservation Alliance in a letter dated October 14, 2010. RDC believes it is imperative to address reasonable issues and requests before a sound decision can be made.

Thank you for the opportunity to provide comments on this important issue.

Resource Development Council for Alaska, Inc.