Paul Wellman (file)

Otter Activists Fear Gallegly Proposal

Under Guise of Helping Military, Bill Would Block Protections for Species South of Point Conception

After its initial congressional hearing on April 19, sea otter activists continue to monitor Rep. Elton Gallegly’s “Military Readiness and Southern Sea Otter Conservation Act,” which would make it easier for the Navy to test weapons on San Nicolas Island while protecting commercial fishermen from competition with the threatened marine mammal that loves urchins, abalone, and other shellfish.

The bill is an end-around the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service’s recent decision to begin extending federal protections for the otter into waters south of Point Conception. “We really have no problem with the military piece of this bill,” said Brad Hunt of The Otter Project. “But they’ve basically hidden the fisheries piece within a military readiness bill.” The bill will be picked up again on May 9, could be voted on by the House as soon as May 14, and then goes to the Senate, but action there is not expected until after the November election.

To submit a comment on this article, email or visit our Facebook page. To submit information to a reporter, email

event calendar sponsored by:

Biggest Storm Since 1/9 Approaching Santa Barbara

The storm system brings increased threat of flash floods and debris flows.

Jack Johnson Tours Montecito Disaster Area Ahead of Benefit Concert

Jack and Kim Johnson met with Bucket Brigade leaders to see the destruction firsthand.

Iron Chef Caused State Street Pedestrian Death

Famous Chef Larry Forgione charged with misdemeanor for driving into Gilbert Ramirez on February 24.

Lavagnino’s Sudden Victory

5th District supervisor a shoo-in as filing window closes; Gregg Hart also unopposed for 2nd District.

One Half of Old Town Streets to Get Sidewalks

Walkways planned for one side of Goleta neighborhood streets; parking, lighting talks at community meeting March 22.