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Rep. Straus appointed to ocean advisory panel

Rep. William M. Straus, D-Mattapoisett, has been appointed to the Massachusetts Ocean Advisory Commission, a 17-member panel that will examine the potential for making the most of state waters while insuring that natural resources receive adequate protection.

The panel was established following passage of the Oceans Act in 2008 that called for a science-based management plan for state waters, according to a news release.

The Oceans Act set deadlines for drafting a final plan to be enforceable under existing laws. Straus, who previously chaired the joint committee on Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture was appointed to the committee by House Speaker Robert DeLeo.

Straus told The Standard-Times he was pleased to accept the appointment.

“I wanted to be on it,” he said. “The Oceans Act was the first in the country to look at our waters in the way we look at public land. It’s public trust land and ought to be used for the widest public benefit.” Balancing conflicting uses for what is a public resource is critical, he said.

Straus said he is beginning a three-year term after the commission has already been working hard on a number of issues. A proposal to place wind turbines in Buzzards Bay on a large scale was denied after the commission found there would be too many conflicts with recreational use, fishing and navigation. “I’d like to acknowledge the work that has already been done,” he said.

Straus joins state senators, agency heads, and representatives from the commercial fishing industry and environmental groups on the panel.

Rep. Ann-Margaret Ferrante, D-Gloucester, was also appointed to the panel Monday.