SeaWorld announced this week that it will challenge the California Coastal Commission’s controversial ruling preventing killer whales at SeaWorld from reproducing.
After the initial vote by the California Coastal Commission, or CCC for short, condemnation of the decision was echoed throughout California by the Los Angeles Times and the San Diego Union Tribune editorial boards. Both papers wrote scathing editorials about the gross overreach of the CCC vote. This vote essentially changed the description of the CCC from being a building permitting office to an animal welfare organization.
SeaWorld Park and Entertainment’s CEO Joel Manby stated to the press that, “It simply defies common sense that a straightforward land-use permit approval would turn into a ban on animal husbandry practices – an area in which the Commissioners have no education, training or expertise. To say that this is a dubious decision with no legal basis is an understatement, which is why we must and will challenge the Commission’s decision.”
Which was then followed up by the Alliance of Marine Mammal Parks and Aquarium’s president Kathleen Dezio: “Over time, the ban would undermine the significant rescue and rehabilitation work with stranded animals SeaWorld does along California coasts and jeopardize its important scientific research on cetaceans, which has led to much of what we know today about killer whales.”
Last week Awesome Ocean wrote about how an amendment was seemingly hastily added to the permit ruling for SeaWorld’s Blue World project – an amendment offered by Commissioner Dayna Bochco.
And it appears that Commissioner Bochco’s amendment wasn’t a last minute idea, but a pre-planned effort. In fact it reads almost word-for-word from the suggestion made by California Assemblyman Richard Bloom and author of an anti-SeaWorld bill introduced in the California Legislature last year that failed to be brought to a vote.
In his statement dated October 1st, 2015 to the California Coastal Commission, Assemblyman Richard Bloom wrote:
As a former Coastal Commissioner, I would like to assure you that you have it within your discretion to help bring the captive breeding programming in San Diego to a close. Your staff agrees that you have the authority to condition the project under Section 30230. Therefore, it is equally clear that you have the authority to prohibit captive breeding. It is totally within your discretion as Commissioners to determine what the appropriate application of 30230 is.
Bloom has now put the CCC in a position where they are going to find out if he’s right. It appears that Commissioner Bochco used his statement as the foundation for what her anti-breeding amendment would be.
However, after the media condemnation of her actions and after outraged citizens created a petition to reverse the CCC’s decision, Commissioner Bochco wrote a desperate editorial in the San Diego Union Tribune defending her overreach by stating: “This was not a power grab. The commission is not pre-empted by any federal law, and no other state agency is addressing issues related to captive whales. We were faced with making our decision in a regulatory vacuum.”
Perhaps Commissioner Bochco was too busy hanging out with her extremist pals, Ellen Ericsson, Naomi Rose and Ingrid Visser, to realize that she is flat out wrong and that SeaWorld is already a highly regulated organization.
SeaWorld is regulated by the National Marine Fisheries, United States Department of Agriculture, the United States Department of Fish and Wildlife, the United States Department of the Interior and the United States Department of Commerce.
On top of that, SeaWorld has also subjected itself to additional regulation by being accredited by the the Association of Zoos and Aquarium (AZA) and the the Alliance for Marine Mammal Parks and Aquariums, which have animal care requirements that go far and beyond the federal government’s requirements.
Clearly, the California Coastal Commission has overreached its jurisdiction. Pair this with Commissioner Bochco’s statement, and t’s obvious that they are desperately trying to keep their heads above water.
With the announcement of a plan to challenge the ruling, it’s clear SeaWorld isn’t going to let a radical agenda prevent them from providing the best possible care to the animals that call their parks home.