Capt. Drew Pearson, United States Coast Guard
Dr. Jane Lubchenco, Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere and NOAA Administrator
Mr. Dan Ashe, Director, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Mrs. Sheryan Epperly, NOAA Fisheries Service Miami Laboratory
Mr. Pedro Nieves, Chairman, Puerto Rico Environmental Quality Board
Mr. Daniel Galan, Secretary, DNER
Admiral Robert J. Papp, Jr., Commandant, USCG
Rear Admiral William D. Baumgartner, Commander, Seventh Coast Guard District, USCG
I strongly oppose any further delays to the complete removal of the M/V Jireh grounded at the Mona Island Natural Reserve, Puerto Rico. This vessel lodged on the shore is threatening endangered hawksbill sea turtles during the beginning of their reproductive season as well as some of the most important coral reefs in the US Caribbean. The prompt actions of the USCG-Unified...
I strongly oppose any further delays to the complete removal of the M/V Jireh grounded at the Mona Island Natural Reserve, Puerto Rico. This vessel lodged on the shore is threatening endangered hawksbill sea turtles during the beginning of their reproductive season as well as some of the most important coral reefs in the US Caribbean. The prompt actions of the USCG-Unified Command are critical to avoid the need to mitigate the environmental disaster if the M/V Jireh is dislodged by imminent tropical storms and hurricanes. The goal of the Coast Guard's marine protected species program is to assist the NMFS and the FWS in the development and enforcement of those regulations necessary to help recover and maintain the country’s marine protected species and their marine ecosystems. The efforts that have been conducted at Mona during the past weeks have been extremely costly and haven't minimized the long-term risks this grounding poses to the environment. I am convinced that the environmental impacts from this potential disaster can be avoided if the M/V Jireh is completely extricated from Mona's shallow waters immediately.
Coral reefs have thrived at this natural reserve for millions of years before the devastating impacts of vessel groundings. I care deeply about what happens to these magnificent ecosystems and will not stand by and watch as they are jeopardized by the vessel's debris if it is not removed immediately. I am very disappointed that the agencies involved in decision-making have neglected the impacts this vessel poses on the critical habitats of endangered hawksbill sea turtles as well as other essential fish habitats such as coral reefs. I ask that you consider the legal, ethical, and environmental consequences of allowing this accident waiting to happen to remain on the shores of Mona Island, and that you make the right choice to reduce, not increase, the impacts of vessel groundings on these fragile marine habitats.