Ninth Coast Guard Dist to hold public meetings on Firing Zones
Written by USCG   
Tuesday, 26 September 2006 05:34

The Ninth Coast Guard District, in a late breaking press release has announced it will hold four public meetings to discuss issues relating to the proposed permanent safety zones, used for weapons training exercises, located in the U.S. Great Lakes.

"I have withdrawn my approval to conduct two previously scheduled weapons training exercises on the Great Lakes" commented Ninth Dist Commander Rear Adm. John E. Crowley, Jr. "I made this decision with the intentions to focus our informational outreach efforts on the location of our proposed permanent safety zones, improving Coast Guard readiness and the merits of maritime homeland security."

"I remain committed to pursuing essential weapons training for our crews during the public comment period using temporary zones and will consider each request on a case-by-case basis" continued Crowley.  "Today's threats to national security come from nimble and innovative enemies.  I must assure the Great Lakes communities that the men and women of “their” U.S. Coast Guard are as prepared as they can possibly be to protect "our" Great Lakes.  Anything less is unacceptable."

The meetings will be held in Duluth, Grand Haven, Port Huron and Cleveland.  Official notice of these public meetings is scheduled to be published in the Federal Register by the end of this week.  Specific times, locations and additional information will be published in a subsequent notice in the Federal Register.

Specific Dates are:
Duluth, MN. -- Oct. 16;
Grand Haven, MI. -- Oct. 18;
Port Huron/Marysville, MI. -- Oct. 19; and
Cleveland -- Oct. 23. 

The purpose of the public meetings is to gather information.  After brief opening remarks and a summary of the proposed rule, U.S. Coast Guard officials will listen to comments from the public.  Prior to the start of the public meeting, an open house will be conducted and Coast Guard officials will be available to answer questions from the public.

Members of the public that are unable to attend may still submit comments regarding the proposed permanent safety zones to the Docket Management Facility by one of the following means:

By mail to: Docket Management Facility (USCG-2006-2567), U.S. Dept of Transportation, Rm PL-401, 400 SW, Washington, D.C. 20590-0001.

By delivery to: Room PL-401 on the Plaza Level of the Nassif building, 400 Seventh St. SW, Washington, D.C., between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, with the exception of federal holidays.  Telephone number (202) 366-9329.

By fax to: Docket Management Facility at (202) 493-2251.

By the web to: Docket Management System web site at  Docket number 25767

Crowley added he appreciated the members of the Great Lakes communities, their representatives, and the media who have sought to learn more about the Guard's efforts and engage in serious dialogue.  He asserted, “Our input is welcomed and will be carefully considered prior to making any final decision on the permanent zones.”

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