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Environment

Manatee Fight: Florida Town Might Sue U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service

Manatee.jpg

Last month, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service made Kings Bay in Crystal River a manatee refuge. As part of that, it enacted new rules about boating. And city officials haven't been too happy about it- they have until their next meeting, April 9th to vote whether or not to sue to reverse the rules.

City officials are upset  the new rules require slower boat speeds during the summer- peak season for recreation activities on the bay.

Crystal River Mayor Jim Farley says the bay is already manatee-friendly.

"We have a great safety record," Farley said. "We don't have a need for their problem- for them to bring their trouble to our water waves."

He says there are fewer manatees in the bay during the summer anyway.

"So there's no problem during that period of time, this is unnecessary, overreaching, and over-regulation."

The Fish and Wildlife Service says the new rules strike a balance and are less strict than what they'd originally planned.

Spokesman Chuck Underwood says the new rules protect manatees and allow people to use the bay for recreation. He says they're also clear and easy to enforce.