Dec 24, 2014 1:50 PM by News Staff
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - National marine sanctuaries off Northern California are due to double in size in the new year.
Federal rules would put waters off Marin and Sonoma counties and part of Mendocino County under increased federal protection. That includes banning offshore drilling. The area is not known to have significant petroleum reserves.
National marine sanctuary spokeswoman Mary Jane Schramm says the aim is to protect one of North America's largest underwater nutrient flows. The nutrient stream supports the West Coast's largest population of breeding seabirds, as well as creatures ranging from whales to sea lions to salmon.
Hearings on the expanded marine sanctuaries drew support from California's more than $13 billion coastal tourism, recreation and fishing industries.
The incoming Congress will have 45 working days after Jan. 20 to review the expansion.
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