Captain Bobby Edwards
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In 2014 we are faced with an even bigger issue: please click for information

This new issue is the NAVY, not NOAA and it intends to circumvent due process and STOP ALL ACTIVITY on the shipwrecks we know and love.

 


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Background 
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Our letter 
to NOAA

May 21
2009

June 28 2009  

August 2009

September
2009
October
2009

NOAA/Government issues YOU should be aware of

May 2012

updated 04/13/14
Are you interested in keeping 
federal bureaucracy out of your NC Diving and Fishing experience?

Please take a few minutes and CALL NOAA's DAVE ALBERG (or his boss, or his  boss' boss) directly to 
voice your opinion about maintaining UNRESTRICTED ACCESS to the shipwrecks and waters off the NC coast.
 
Dave is the ultimate bottom line where the Monitor Sanctuary expansion idea is concerned,
and one of his 
primary arguments is that he "hears there are concerns out there, but his phone never rings."
 
If people don't start telling him what they think, he will be free to go forward without your input. 

David W. Alberg    Sanctuary Superintendent    Monitor National Marine Sanctuary    
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

100 Museum Dr.    Newport News, VA    23606
Phone: (757) 591 7326    Cell: (757) 869 4291    Fax: (757) 591 7353


A TIMELINE OF EVENTS

In 2008 NOAA began been making deliberate moves which indicated they have intentions to expand the Monitor National Marine Sanctuary to include the NC Submarines and Allied Wrecks. When questioned as to their intentions, Dave Alberg has repeatedly responded that "NOAA has no plans to expand the MNMS". The recreational dive community has seen NOAA in action before, and while that statement may be true at this moment, we believe- based on past experience- that the intent/desire to expand is very real. 
So there is no "formal plan" at this time, just a whole lot of
movement in that direction.

We have created this area in order to clarify the opposing position to NOAA ever expanding or establishing Marine Sanctuaries off the coast of NC. Publicly, NOAA denies there are any plans to expand the Monitor Marine Sanctuary. Today, this may indeed be true. HOWEVER, based on history and observation, a foundation is being constructed for NOAA to eventually do just that. Consider it an "invisible train"- we know it's there- but we can't see it. 
By the time it becomes visible, it will be too late to stop it. 
HOW DOES ONE DE-RAIL AN INVISIBLE TRAIN?
We feel the issue is extremely important and thought it necessary to present the facts - without the governmental doubletalk. Before it is too late.

OUR POSITION:
Tax dollars should NOT be wasted on expanding or creating or expanding Marine Sanctuaries. The public has been well served for decades in their desire to visit the NC Shipwrecks. There is no need to change the status quo. Mother nature yields a far heavier hand on our wrecks than any diver ever could. Concerns over damage at the hands of sport divers are overblown and can easily be addressed with a grassroots education campaign at the diver level.  NOAA should spend more time and effort maintaining their dwindling system of Weather Buoys.

Long overdue, here is a real-world timeline of the "NEWS- on NOAA's push to create "Marine Sanctuaries" out of the German Subs in NC, and after that the allied wrecks..."

the last few decades Divers enjoy diving the shipwrecks off the coast of NC. Divers found them, divers identified them and dive operators serve the public interest in visiting them. Wreckdivers hold an awe, passion and respect for these wrecks and invest countless hours and thousands of dollars in research, discussion and diving these pieces of our history.
Spring 2008 NOAA contacts local dive operator concerning their intent to dive and document the NC Submarines. Their intent seems friendly and cooperative.
Jul 7, 2008 Immediately before it is scheduled to begin, articles are published announcing NOAA's Battle of the Atlantic expedition to commence. The first article 
Jul 8, 2008 On the NC Divers website forum: a thread is started titled "Raising u-352." Admittedly probably just a rumor, but evidently people were already talking, and continued the discussion over many pages on the site.
Jul 21, 2008 The second article, published in multiple media outlets
Aug 03, 2008 The third article
Aug 11, 2008 On the NC Divers website forum: a second thread is started titled "Raising U-352, chapter 2." This time concerning NOAA's slanderous media articles. Again, the discussion continues over many pages on the site. Divers are clearly interested and concerned.
Aug 20, 2008 http://www.ncdivers.com/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?f=10&t=6122&st=0&sk=t&sd=a&start=30 
Two quotes copied from extensive debate on the NC Divers Forum website:
#1
"In a nutshell, NOAA has started a new project to survey the 3 commonly visited U-boats off our coast. They plan to expand the survey over the next few years to include more WWII wrecks. People are unsure about where it is all leading. Some NOAA reps (see the emails to Bradish) say they are just interested to see how things look today. Others see it as the precursor to an expansion of the Monitor NMS (see other NOAA reps quoted in news articles, as well as the BOA research design documents). Some of the things that NOAA reps have been quoted saying in news reports about the disrespectful behavior of divers doesn't match what regular divers in the area observe. NOAA was posting regular updates about the summer surveys, but they seem to have stopped (and maybe removed some documents from their website?) after the reaction from the local diving community was less than a warm embrace" by -f
#2
"I had heard through the grape vine that they were trying to expand the Monitor Sanctuary into, the Graveyard of the Atlantic National Marine Sanctuary." by -B
Sept 14, 2008
Oct 22, 2008 October 22nd at 6:30PM in Raleigh at the Museum of Natural Sciences. 
An informational meeting for the NC dive community is set up at the request of a member of the NC Divers website/forum. A collaboration between Dave Farrar of Gypsy Divers, Robert D. Bradish of NC Divers, and NOAA's Dave Alberg, with the specific goal of introducing the NOAA Sanctuary Program to divers in the area. Included in the meeting topics was "what the possibility of a "Graveyard of the Atlantic" Sanctuary might entail". According to individuals who were present at that meeting, NOAA received many comments, some rather energetic, vehemently against the thought of including more NC shipwrecks in any Sanctuary area. 

In retrospect, this preliminary meeting influenced the tone of subsequent NOAA public meetings. Once exposed to public hostility regarding sanctuary expansion, NOAA was able to regroup and approach the public in a more offensive manner rather than being caught on the defensive again. Unfortunately this Oct 22 meeting was purely informational, and did not count towards the public input period of the official scoping meetings.

October 22 is the first day of DEMA in Las Vegas, so many NC dive operators were unable to attend.

Morning of 
Dec 3, 2009
A small, private meeting took place with Dave Alberg. The most notable revelation was the invitation extended by Alberg for us to visit Thunder Bay on NOAA's dime, to see how well things turned out up there. 
That begs the question: if no plans to expand here, why offer a free trip to local dive operators?
Week of 
Dec 3, 2008
A series of "Scoping Meetings" take place regarding the Monitor Sanctuary. As part of their Management Plan Review process, the public was invited to provide input. The meeting at Pine Knoll Shores (Near Morehead City) was rather governmental, with a dominant NOAA presence. Upon entering the room that evening, it felt as if NOAA had brought out all of their staff to stage an unnecessarily heavy-handed event. Dry and full of procedures needed to orchestrate and document all public comments, it was rather uncomfortable and frankly felt like a grand waste of time. Leave it to the government to make it complicated.
Since the stated purpose of the meeting was to manage the Monitor Sanctuary, it seemed odd that the public attendance was in concern over the concept of expanding the sanctuary. However, there is no adequate avenue to voice opinions over the concept of expanding the sanctuary, so the entire meeting was a gray area where that is concerned. I heard a few in attendance say they were not going to say the word "expansion" at all, for fear that NOAA would simply count the number of times the word was said, and make a case for growth that way!
Dec 12, 2008 NOAA letter1.JPG (282086 bytes)NOAA letter2.JPG (367525 bytes) A letter promoting the NOAA viewpoint, written by someone with clear insight into the agency and its agenda. 
Feb, 1 2009 The Management plan review period has ended, and collected public comments will be posted online for review by March 2009.
Any proposals or plans concerning the future of the Monitor Sanctuary will be created by NOAA: specifically Dave Alberg himself.  
DAVE ALBERG IS THE BOTTOM LINE WHERE THIS EXPANSION IDEA IS CONCERNED. 
ANY PROPOSAL MADE IN THE FUTURE WILL ORIGINATE FROM HIS DESK.
Feb 9, 2009 We receive a copy of Gary Gentile's February 2009 newsletter. In it, Gary issues a dire warning that NOAA is continuing its efforts to expand jurisdictional over shipwrecks. Rather than creating a new sanctuary to encompass the "Battle of the Atlantic" wrecks, expanding the boundaries of existing sanctuaries seems an alternative plan: since establishing new sanctuaries is currently prohibited by Congress. Gary urges readers to voice their objections to congressional representatives. 
Feb 13, 2009 After following up on the information in Gary Gentile's newsletter, we decide the information is valid and pass the newsletter on.  
Feb 13, 2009  MNMS Advisory Council Meeting, 11:15 agenda item "Expansion Committee-Dave Alberg" 
Not so ambiguous when it's on the agenda...
.pdf format     .doc format
(NOAA claims that no expansion committee exists, the agenda item was simply to explore the need for an expansion committee.)
Feb 15, 2009 Some divers who received our email/newsletter have contacted NOAA or people familiar with NOAA movements, and received an adamant denial, that this was not true. NOAA is expected to "respond and clarify". We send a follow-up email that it is NOAA's job to deny and placate, until the time comes that the actual plans are announced. The government isn't lying when they say 'there are no plans for expansion at this time'. Long range plans are indeed not made public at this point. 
We decide to create this timeline and trace back WHY it is so obvious to us that Gary Gentile is not wrong. 
        Please review the MNMS Agenda (posted above) from the Feb 13, 2009 meeting. 
        MEETING MINUTES BECAME AVAILABLE IN LATE APRIL, 2009 (10 weeks later)

Feb 17, 2009

We began to urge the public to contact your political representatives and tell them the Status Quo is working just fine here in NC. Suggest that NOAA's concerns are overblown and can be easily addressed on the diver level with a grassroots education program. Tens of millions of your tax dollars can be better used elsewhere.  
   Better yet, GO to the MNMS Advisory Council Meetings and VOICE YOUR OPINION!!



National Sanctuary level contacts:

Sources tell us that NOAA's jurisdiction 
falls within the Commerce Department.

Gary Locke
US Commerce Secretary
US Dept of Commerce
1401 Constitution Ave, NW
Washington, DC  20230

 

Dr. Jane Lubchenco
Administrator of NOAA and Undersecretary of Commerce
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
1401 Constitution Ave, NW
Room 5128
Washington, DC  20230

IMPORTANT CONTACT INFO:
David W. Alberg
    Sanctuary Superintendent
    Monitor National Marine Sanctuary    
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

100 Museum Dr.    Newport News, VA    23606
Phone: (757) 591 7326    Cell: (757) 869 4291    Fax: (757) 591 7353

Coming_Soon.gif
Local interested parties:


Carteret County local government
-Morehead City
-Beaufort

 

 

 

Dare County (Hatteras & Outer Banks communities)

The Honorable Mark Basnight, NC Senator

Phone: (919) 733-6854
fax - 919-733-8740
Email: Marc.Basnight@ncleg.net
Legislative Mailing Address: NC Senate
16 W. Jones Street, Room 2007
Raleigh, NC 27601-2808

US Representatives:

US State representatives: http://www.house.gov/house/MemberWWW_by_State.shtml#nc
Walter B. Jones represents the 3rd district. The Third District is home of the world famous Outer Banks, encompassing most of eastern NC. Carteret, Hyde and Dare counties are on the NC coast, and are the most potentially impacted by NOAA.

US Senators:

http://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm?State=NC
Richard Burr and Kay Hagan are the US Senators representing North Carolina.
Apr 2, 2009

PLEASE, if you have an opinion about the possibility of NOAA imposing regulation on our shipwrecks, Dave Alberg (or his boss, or his  boss' boss) needs to hear from you. He claims that despite the 'public opinion', "his phone never rings." WE SUGGEST that interested divers/fishermen CALL HIM (or his boss, or his  boss' boss) directly and voice your opinions. 

Apr 3, 2009

A 300+ member dive club in Pennsylvania has expressed concerns over the potential restriction of access to wrecks off of the NC coast. They have offered to help share their public opinions with the powers that be. That is fantastic! An edited copy of the letter can be found here.

 Apr 14, 2009 

In response from receiving a letter from the above-mentioned dive club, Carteret County's Economic Development representatives met in person with Dave Alberg to determine NOAA's intentions concerning expanding the MNMS. It was the County's regular monthly meeting, and they wanted to know from Alberg what his plans were. He again was unwilling/unable to state that there were any plans for a sanctuary expansion. It is established that there will be an Expansion Committee formed to find out if a sanctuary is wanted/needed in this area. 
So, to update the Feb14 posting, there isn't an expansion committee- (yet). And there are no plans to expand- (yet). 

April 20, 2009

Gary Gentile's latest newsletter provides more detail concerning his educated viewpoint concerning NOAA's tactics. He references this website link in his newsletter, and provides valuable background information on how this new endeavour of NOAA's is a repeat of past history. 
Click here for text of the entire newsletter

"Although NOAA is mandated to hold public hearings and listen to public concerns, NOAA is under no obligation to act upon those concerns. NOAA holds hearings merely as lip service to satisfy its Congressional mandate, then goes ahead and does whatever the hell it wants. This is not a prediction, but a statement of past behavior - behavior that is entirely without exception."

Gary Gentile may well use inflammatory words to get his point across- but his warnings are based on facts and history does tend to repeat itself. We echo his warnings and are watching this expansion drama play out before our eyes. 

April 20, 2009

WARNING TO COMMERCIAL FISHING INTERESTS
NOAA's movements signaling their intention to control the waters off the coast of NC will result in a huge impact on Coastal Communities and Fishing: both recreational and commercial. Some representatives of commercial fishermen are already voicing an opinion that they are NOT IN FAVOR of ANY CHANGES WHATSOEVER in the MONITOR SANCTUARY. 

April 20, 2009

INTERESTING UNANSWERED QUESTIONS:
1) Why did NOAA spend so much time and money last summer doing the archaeological surveys on the submarines? That is one question that points so obviously to their intent, yet Alberg continues to glaze over the answer and obfuscate the issue with statements like "there are no plans to expand." Sure, they wanted to determine/document the current status of the wrecks- but the deeper question is WHY?

2) When has the government EVER spent so much time and money on a project when they don't know where it is headed? How convenient to deny any plans exist and thus make it impossible for the public to respond. Local officials cannot possibly form an opinion about this impending expansion when there is nothing formal for them to review and comment upon. What a cruel and subversive way to go about achieving a goal. (No wonder Gary Gentile uses words like 'nefarious' and 'totalitarian'. They ring true.)

Apr 21-23, 2009

The Marine Protected Areas Federal Advisory Committee will meet April 21-23 in Annapolis, MD
A draft agenda is available here.
ANYONE who is able to attend is encouraged to do so. This meeting involves the Sanctuary Board and their advisors. The people above Dave Alberg. It is a 3-day meeting, but the agenda outlines key areas which might be of interest to the public- as well as public comment periods.
  
May 8, 2009
There are people already campaigning for a seat on the expansion committee which doesn't exist. 
If it seems like we are overreacting to NOAA's overtures, please read between the lines.

 

 

May 9, 2009

 

 


 A handful of divers have used our submission form to document calls made to or conversations with Dave Alberg. One diver posted a summary of his conversation on the NCDivers website. One interesting observation: "any solution could be worse than the actual problem." 

Another submission mentioned that Alberg's request for phone calls was an effort to 'know your enemy.' We concur. 
On October 22, 2008 one particularly outspoken member of the NCDivers forum took it upon himself to arrange an informational session for NOAA to 'discuss' the sanctuary program with recreational divers in Raleigh, NC. 
We took notice that that particular meeting served no ultimate end but to enable NOAA to better prepare for public opposition, 'off the record'. We wholeheartedly believe this is exactly what Alberg is doing: hearing the arguments and enhancing his spin with the information gained from them. 
UNFORTUNATELY, since he, and only he, is the ultimate bottom line in ANY Monitor expansion recommendation- we have no choice but to play the government game and encourage the public to communicate directly with him. He IS good at talking in circles and avoiding direct questions. Based on his series of press releases which badmouthed recreational divers from Summer 08, his 'first choice' strategy is NOT one of cooperation and working with recreational divers. 
HOWEVER, if there is enough public involvement- it could be possible to influence the future enough that NOAA will indeed deal directly with what they deem to be the problem, and not implement a socialist solution which would be worse than whatever they feel is the true issue at hand. (not to mention the millions of taxpayer dollars hanging in the balance).
THEREFORE, we must repeat our request to CALL HIM, (or his boss or his boss' boss), DOCUMENT THE CALL, and IF POSSIBLE, ATTEND THE MAY 19 NOAA MEETING IN HATTERAS.   
There is no other way but to 'play the game' by their rules.
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Additional background information

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

http://monitor.noaa.gov/advisory/meetings.html
MNMS Agendas and meeting minutes are posted here, and show a history dating back to Nov 2006. It seems the idea for "protecting" the wrecks was pushed back then by Bill McDermott of Nags Head's Outer Banks Dive Shop. His comment "the wrecks are disappearing at an accelerated rate" (however subjective) led to a request for help in setting standards for protection and conservation. It's amazing to think that in just a few short years, NOAA has caused so much controversy. It's interesting to note that the Nags Head dive shop has already begun profiting on the concept, selling 'protect the wrecks' t-shirts. The individual who is already campaigning for a seat on the expansion committee could well be affiliated with that same shop. What an idea- to get the power of the federal government behind a subjective statement and start making money off of it! Still, no mention of the impact that Mother Nature has on the shipwrecks. 

As stated in our comments about the Feb 13, 2009 meeting, the MNMS has an expansion committee. It was formed on May 16, 2008 and is clearly documented in the minutes from that meeting. http://monitor.noaa.gov/advisory/meetings.html The internal expansion subcommittee officially became a working group on Feb 13, 2009. Details are in the minutes.

Jim Bunch, the current recreational dive chair on the MNMS advisory committee made an interesting statement at the Oct 2008 meeting: "A discussion then pursued detailing ships sunk during the Battle of the Atlantic and the possibility of expanding the research to many other wreck sites. Mr. Bunch commented that overall any expansion of the sanctuary's interest in other shipwrecks was met with approval in general by the dive community and that he was optimistic if expansion ever becomes an option."
We asked him directly: "Could you please clarify the dive community to which you refer in this part of the statement: "was met with approval in general by the dive community."" 
His response was: "The dive community  I was referring to consists of many individuals and shop owners from Florida to New York.  I speak with lots of folks every week. The idea of looking at other wrecks as far as historical and preservation value seemed like a pretty good idea to many of these folks.  At that time this was just an idea.  As far as I know now it's still just an idea.  The important thing is that right now it's just an idea and will move in the direction that public opinion takes it.  That's why it's very important that you be in Hatteras next week."
RECREATIONAL DIVERS: if your opinion is different than what is being shared with the MNMS advisory committee, make haste to share that opinion in an official way. Their most recent meeting was May 19 and the letter we wrote was designed to share our opinion directly with the advisory committee. It was that easy.

NOAA IS NOT YET 'HEARING' ANY PUBLIC OPINION EXCEPT THAT WHICH AGREES WITH THE IDEA TO EXPAND THE MONITOR SANCTUARY. 

THESE EVENTS, COMBINED WITH THE OVERT ACTIONS (detailed in this timeline) OF NOAA LED US TO WRITE A LETTER TO BE READ AT THE MAY 19 ADVISORY COUNCIL MEETING. NOAA's actions show their attitude of 'we'll-have-our-way no matter what it takes'. There really is a 'master plan' at work here, and voices contrary to the group-think are up against a strongly biased agency.  It's all right there in their meeting minutes.  http://monitor.noaa.gov/advisory/meetings.html



MAY 19 2009

Tuesday, MAY 19 is the date for the next Monitor Sanctuary meeting, at the Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum in Hatteras, NC
The first PUBLIC COMMENT PERIOD STARTS AT 11:00am. NOAA staff will be there en masse.
(on-the clock, of course. More of your tax dollars at work)
The weather on May 19 was very windy and the Ferry from Cedar Island to Ocracoke did not run. We instead drafted a letter and asked that it be read during the public comment period at the meeting today, and also be included in the meeting minutes. To view our letter, click here.
MAY 21, 2009 About the May 19 meeting:
Evidently our letter was read at the meeting and a hard copy was submitted for inclusion in the minutes. A healthy turnout (about 40) of local divers and fishermen voiced concern and objection. The idea that NOAA wants to shut down ALL the wrecks off the NC coast to both diving and fishing: within a 1 mile radius of each, is circulating in an email. In that email is mention that a NOAA representative would have to be present on each boat requesting activity in any of the protected areas. While this idea might be extreme in this case, it IS based on the history of the Monitor wreck area. If you want the government to STAY OUT of the water off the NC coast, now is the time to have a say about how your tax dollars are being spent.
May 31, 2009 More info on the May 19 meeting: the Monitor Advisory committee will be adding 3 more seats to represent recreational diving: one primary and 2 alternates, making a total of 4 seats. The NOAA website should be advertising this change within another week, and the process can take months to complete.  

The working group to "explore expansion possibilities" was also started. 5 council members will represent NOAA and outside members have not yet been named. 

Please don't just read this and talk amongst yourselves. 
DO SOMETHING.

June 2009

June 28 The dive season is well underway. Many divers are amazed when hearing about the expansionistic activities of NOAA, and that there is no mention of the damage done to the wrecks by weather and salt water exposure. The elitist mindset taken by archeologists is also a topic of dismay in the recreational dive community. We often wonder about the hypocrisy of NOAA in their claim to be 'protecting' the Monitor shipwreck while having torn it apart to recover the turret. 
The next chapter: Dave Alberg stated in a radio interview that he was interested in discovering shipwrecks... is this what we want our tax dollars to be spent on? As expensive as it is to search for a shipwreck, imagine the inflated cost of such an endeavor when taken on by the federal government! Who is it, exactly, thinking this is a good idea?

August 2009  

August 2009 NOAA has completed another round of 'documentation dives' and the media have reported on this season's expedition.

More detailed information coming soon. 

September 2009  

NOAA (your tax dollar) is now in the business of hunting for shipwrecks

NOAA press release on YP-389.
http://www.wavy.com/dpp/news/military/military_wavy_norfolk_NOAAlocatesNavyshipsunkinWWII_20090909

http://sanctuaries.noaa.gov/missions/battleoftheatlantic2/videos/yp389.mov
its the video from the wreck Nat'l Marine Sanctuaries found-

October 2009  

 

 

Information on a New Presidential Task Force that is being developed to control ocean resources (see link below). 

http://www.whitehouse.gov/assets/documents/09_17_09_Interim_Report_of_Task_Force_FINAL2.pdf

It says right in the "PRINCIPLES" of this Task Force: 
Decision-making will also be guided by a precautionary approach as reflected in the Rio Declaration of 1992 which states in pertinent part, [w]here there are threats of serious or irreversible damage, lack of full scientific certainty shall not be used as a reason for postponing cost-effective measures to prevent environmental degradation"

 

 


The public comment period lasts until October 20, 2009

http://www.whitehouse.gov/administration/eop/ceq/initiatives/oceans/interimreport/

 

Oct 6, 2009 Dear Friends of the Monitor NMS,

We are pleased to announce that we will be holding our quarterly sanctuary advisory council meeting on Monday, October 26, 2009 at the Monitor NMS office located at 100 Museum Drive, Newport News, VA 23606.

An agenda will be posted on the web site the week prior to the meeting, but we wanted to let you know that the public commenting period will be from 11:00 to 11:30 AM

If you have any questions or would like to submit comments in writing, please don't hesitate to email or call.

Thanks!
Shannon Ricles

-- 
Shannon S. Ricles
Education and Outreach Coordinator
Monitor National Marine Sanctuary
NOAA
100 Museum Dr.
Newport News, VA 23606
Voice: 757-591-7328
Fax: 757-591-7353

2012   

April 30-May 4, 2012 MNMS has a new "Draft Plan" and held 5 scoping meetings this week. Although they are not 'planning' an expansion on any official level, it isn't difficult to read between the lines. Someone wants the Monitor Sanctuary expanded, and one could easily extrapolate that the NC submarines are the first target. 

One very pertinent question is: why can't NOAA maintain their weather buoys in the ocean off of our coast. There seems to be no time or money to provide the public with weather and ocean data that has been extremely useful to anyone venturing into the ocean off of the coast of NC. 
If a gutted marine sanctuary trumps the maintenance of weather buoys... NOAA could look into that.

 

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Captain Bobby Edwards    145 Intracoastal Drive    Beaufort, NC 28516    252-728-6244