Last week, Representative Elton Gallegly announced the introduction of the Military Readiness and Southern Sea Otter Conservation Act, which the Republican Congressmember promised would protect the Navy’s ability to test its weapons on San Nicolas Island while “allowing the southern sea otter to expand its habitat to wherever it wants.”

But within hours, sea otter advocates fired off their own press release, explaining that Gallegly’s bill would undermine the recent decision by the U.S Fish & Wildlife Service to extend protections for otters in Southern California waters, and is instead a means of keeping shellfishing industry — which sees the voracious otter as an enemy — happy.

Said Steve Shinmek of The Otter Project, “This stealth bill should properly be renamed the We Don’t Want No Stinkin’ Otters Act.” Meanwhile, the Fish & Wildlife Service also appeared to be caught off guard by Gallegly’s bill, as spokesperson Lois Grunwald explained, “We are still reviewing the text of the bill to gain a thorough understanding of it.


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