Now it's manatees?

manatee (USFWS)

I couldn’t help noticing that Congressman Nugent offered the following amendment to the House Interior Appropriations Bill last night:

Funding limitation related to establishing a manatee refuge in Florida

Sec. __.  None of the funds made available by this Act may be used to implement or finalize the proposed rule published  in the Federal Register on June 22, 2011, at 76 Fed. Reg. 36493 (related to Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Proposed Rule To Establish a Manatee Refuge in Kings Bay, Citrus County, Florida).

According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Kings Bay springs, part of an area which is home to over 550 manatees, “constitute one of the most important natural warm water refuges for manatees.”  Creating a manatee refuge would not ban swimming with manatees, a popular tourist attraction, but it would place restrictions on boat speeds in the area, and none too soon: between May 1 and August 30 of last year alone, seven manatees were killed by speeding boats. The refuge would also let the Fish and Wildlife Service establish temporary no-entry areas to protect manatees during their mating season.  Many residents Citrus County have voiced their support for the proposed rule, stating that Citrus County's economic future depends on maintaining a healthy manatee population that draws tourists. Local Tea Party activists, however, are less than thrilled

But more to the point, really? Manatees? What’s next, puppies?

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