Coalition Demands EDF Come Clean on Payments to Officials

According to a press release from the Coastal Jobs Coalition, the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) has admitted to offering payment to current and former elected officials – county, port, and city commissioners – from Oregon coastal communities to attend and testify at a hearing of the Pacific Fisheries Management Council Nov. 3-7 in San Diego, Calif.

The coalition learned of the actions on Oct. 31 and is demanding that the organization reveal who it's paid -- and how much -- to testify and travel.

The group supports legitimate public participation in the regulatory process by citizens and elected officials but points out that it is highly inappropriate for lobbying groups – such as EDF – to offer payment of any kind in exchange for elected and government officials to testify at public meetings. The issue was brought to the attention of the Oregon Ethics Commission to investigate and to notify elected officials in Oregon's coastal communities, who may not be aware of this situation. EDF revealed in a Nov.3 announcement that the actions have occurred.

The council's final decision will have a far-reaching impact on preserving the economic viability of coastal communities and jobs as well as the long-term health of the seafood industry. In June, the council voted in favor of allocating 20 percent of quota shares to processors and 80 percent to harvesters. This preliminary vote reflects a compromise position that emerged over four years of debate, analysis, meetings, public comment, and review.

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