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A New Strong Voice
with a
Very Old Mission

P.O. Box 201236
Anchorage, AK 99520

Protecting Fisheries
Access to Small GOA
Coastal Communities

 (907) 561-7633
Toll free: 1-866-561-7633
Fax: 907-561-7634

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This site revised on June 14, 2007



The GOAC3 does not necessarily endorse any of the calendar events posted to
our web site. They are offered as information only.

Alaska's Trade Adjustment Assistance Updates

 2006 What's New Archive          2005 What's New Archive

 2004 What's New Archive         2003 What's New Archive


 

Alaska � NOAA to Review Status of Lynn Canal Pacific Herring

On April 2, 2007, NOAA Fisheries Service received a petition to list the Lynn Canal stock of Pacific herring as a threatened or endangered species under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). NOAA has determined that the petition presents substantial scientific and commercial information indicating that the petitioned action may be warranted, and is initiating a review of the status of the Lynn Canal population of Pacific herring. At this time, the agency is inviting interested members of the public to submit data, information, and comments related to this review. Specifically, NOAA is seeking information on population structure and stock delineations of Pacific herring in Southeast Alaska, the Gulf of Alaska, and the North Pacific Ocean; population trends and ecology of Pacific herring in Lynn Canal and Southeast Alaska waters; habitat requirements and current habitat conditions; known and anticipated threats to the viability of the population; and efforts being made to protect the species.  

Please send any relevant information to by December 10, 2007.

For more information, read the Federal Register notice or contact .

National – NOAA Advisory Committee Seeks Comments on a Vision for the Future of U.S. Marine Fisheries

NOAA Fisheries Service has asked the Marine Fisheries Advisory Committee (MAFAC) to create a stakeholders’ prospectus on the desired future state of domestic and international fisheries. To meet this request, MAFAC members have prepared a draft document, Vision 2020 , which describes trends, their potential impact on marine fisheries, and a series of recommendations for NOAA. This report contains the views of MAFAC members with a wide range of expertise, including but not limited to commercial and recreational fishing, aquaculture, seafood processing, seafood marketing and sales, coastal communities, and environmental advocacy. MAFAC's major findings have been grouped into four theme areas: commercial fisheries, recreational fisheries, fisheries management, and aquaculture. For each theme, this document seeks to identify the following:

1) the strongest influences on the future of fisheries;

2) desired outcome;

3) recommended course of action;

4) critical success factors; and

5) necessary resources.

At this time, MAFAC is seeking additional stakeholder perspective on these issues. Public comments will be accepted for 45 days, and a series of trigger questions has been posted online to focus comments.

For more information, visit http://www.fish2020.org/ .

Alaska salmon gains MSC recertification

After a two-year delay, Alaska's salmon fishery was recertified by the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC).
This story is provided by IntraFish.com,

Click here for article

Alaska Seafood Processing Leadership Institute 2008

ASPLI is three intensive training modules focusing on seafood processing, global seafood markets, the business of seafood processing, regulatory and personnel issues, leadership and work with a professional mentor in your plant. It also includes a 5 day tour of the International Boston Seafood Show and other plants in the Northeast. www.marineadvisory.org/aspli

Alaska - Final Rule to Reduce Salmon Bycatch in Groundfish Fisheries

A new rule amends regulations governing salmon bycatch in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands management area (BSAI). This new rule will enhance the effectiveness of salmon bycatch measures by means of an intercooperative agreement that establishes a dynamic system of area restrictions based on real-time information on where salmon populations are concentrated. Pollock vessels will be exempted from the Chinook and Chum Salmon Savings Area closures if they participate in the intercooperative agreement ( ICA) to reduce salmon bycatch. Further, vessels participating in nonpollock trawl fisheries would be exempted from Chum Salmon Savings Area closures because these fisheries intercept minimal amounts of salmon. This action is intended to promote the goals and objectives of the Fishery Management Plan for Groundfish of the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Management Area

For further information, please contact Jason Anderson, 907�586�7228, or .

Alaska Board of Fisheries

Agenda Change Requests for Fisheries Board Worksession - October 9-11, 2007

Here is  a list of the ACR�s submitted for the BOF consideration (to schedule) at their worksession.  If the board decides to schedule them, they will be posted as to which regular meeting the board will add them to take regulatory action.   The full ACR�s should be posted on the web site sometime today.

ACR 1 -  Add restrictions to Sitka Sound Herring fishery to protect Salisbury Sound (Section 13A) stocks

ACR 2 -  Allow set gillnet running lines within 500 feet of 18 foot high tide mark in Naknek River SHA to remain during drift gillnet openings

ACR 3 -  Reduce mesh size for gillnets to preserve the genetic diversity and historical size structure of the Yukon River king salmon

ACR 4 -  Address Yukon River salmon conservation concerns in reference to US/Canada Treaty obligations

ACR 5 -  Revise stocked waters management plan

ACR 6 -  Add new management measures to prevent overharvest and ensure accurate accounting, biological sampling and enforcement of state-waters scallop harvest

ACR 7 -  Review Naknek River Special Harvest Area 3:1 drift gillnet to set gillnet ratio for open periods

ACR 8 -  Change designation of Yukon River king salmon from a "yield concern" to a "management concern"

ACR 9 -  Revise Yukon River king salmon escapement goals to address quality of escapement

ACR 10 -  Readdress use of "windows" for subsistence fishery management

ACR 11 -  Review of the demersal shelf rockfish management to avoid unattended closures in sport fishery

ACR 12 -  Allow subsistence harvest of clams in Ketchemak Bay

ACR 13 -  Modify fishing in the Outer Port Heiden Section to address subsistence needs

ACR 14 -  Increase allowable set gillnet length for Naknek River SHA

ACR 15 -  Update definitions to include Dark Rockfish (S. ciliatus)

ACR 16 -  Clarify western boundary of Ugashik District

ACR 17 -  Modify ratio of openings for set gillnet and drift gillnet in Naknek-Kvichak District

ACR 18 -  Reinstate original comprehensive allocation plan for the Naknek River SHA

ACR 19 -  Modify fishing in the Outer Port Heiden Section to increase passage ofBristol Bay stocks

ACR 20 -  Close fishing in the Outer Port Heiden Section to increase passage ofBristol Bay stocks

ACR 21 -  Reinstate 100,000 sockeye salmon cap and maximum 24 hour fishing restriction in the North Peninsula

ACR 22 -  Revise management plan for Southeastern District Mainland

ACR 23 -  Modify fishing in the Outer Port Heiden Section to address subsistence needs

ACR 24 -  Have state halibut regulations mirror federal regulations for consistency with the North Pacific Halibut Act and international treaty

ACR 25 -  Allow use of proxies for subsistence, sport, and personal use shellfish fisheries

 

Alaska - Comment Period Reopend for Essential Fish Habitat Rule

On June 19, 2007, NOAA published a proposed rule to correct certain provisions of a June 28, 2006, essential fish habitat (EFH) rule for Alaska fisheries. This proposed rule would clarify that portions of EFH management areas in the vicinity of the Aleutian Islands are located in State of Alaska waters. The proposed action also would apply EFH vessel monitoring system and closure requirements to federally permitted vessels operating in State of Alaska waters adjacent to the Gulf of Alaska and Aleutian Islands subarea. The deadline for public comments was June 19, 2007. However, NOAA is reopening the comment period because the E-mail account listed in the proposed rule for the submission of comments was in error and did not accept comments as intended.

Comments may be sent to through September 4, 2007.

For more information, contact .

National - NOAA Fisheries Service Seeks Public Input on Guidance for Limited Access Privilege Programs

NOAA Fisheries Service is seeking public input on what guidance is needed to implement the limited access privilege program provisions found in section 303(a) of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, as amended in 2006. The regional fishery management councils hold much of the responsibility for developing limited access privilege programs that best meet the needs of specific fisheries. NOAA’s goal is to guide the consistent application of requirements for limited access privilege programs across different regions, without compromising the Councils’ flexibility or innovation.

Therefore, NOAA Fisheries Service is inviting the public to help identify topics that should be included in a proposed rule to clarify these legal provisions and requirements. Questions to be considered include the following: What should be the requirements or limits on holding privileges? What criteria should be used to determine whether businesses are substantially dependent on a fishery? What factors should the agency use to determine if a Regional Fishery Association’s sustainability plan is acceptable? How should the Councils and agency determine when it is necessary to assist entry level and small vessel owner-operators, captains, crew and fishing communities?

Comments may be sent to through September 30, 2007. NOAA Fisheries Service will review these comments, evaluate the legal, technical and policy implications, frame options and recommendations, and issue guidance, as appropriate, through a public process.

More information is available online, or contact .

Alaska Young Fishermen's Summit II

The two-day symposium provides young and new fishermen the information needed to take the helm of Alaska's fishing industry.

Click here for more information

Comment Deadline on Vessel Discharge Soon

NPDES EPA Vessel Discharge Permits may be required for ALL vessels � comment deadline August 6.

EPA is seeking information as it considers how to develop a water permit program for pollutant discharges incidental to the normal operation of commercial vessels and recreational boats.

Vessel owners or operators whose discharges previously have been exempt from Clean Water Act requirements will require a permit beginning Sept. 30, 2008. Regulated discharges may include ballast water, bilge water, deck runoff, and gray water. Approximately 143,000 commercial vessels and potentially more than 13 million state-registered recreational boats and more than 25 different types of vessel discharges could be affected.

On the Web:

EPA is seeking public comments and data to help the agency develop the permitting framework

EPA Press release

EPA website fed Reg notice June 21

Fact sheet on district court ruling

Marine Exchange of Alaska
"�Although the Government is appealing, this court ruling has great potential for causing a monumental train wreck and nightmare for anyone who operates any kind of watercraft from a 950 foot containership to a 14 ft outboard�"

- United Fishermen of Alaska
Compiled by Elaine Riot

North Pacific � Final Rule Restricts Halibut Harvest on Guided Sport Charter Vessels

NOAA Fisheries has issued a final rule to restrict the harvest of halibut by persons fishing on a guided sport charter vessel in International Pacific Halibut Commission (IPHC) Regulatory Area 2C. The current sport fishing catch or bag limit of two halibut per day is changed for a person sport fishing on a charter vessel in Area 2C. The final rule now requires at least one of the two fish taken in a day to be no more than 32 inches in length. This regulatory change is necessary to reduce the halibut harvest in the charter vessel sector while minimizing negative impacts on this sector, its sport fishing clients, and the coastal communities that serve as home ports for the fishery. The intended effect of this action is a reduction in the poundage of halibut harvested by the guided sport charter vessel sector in Area 2C.

For more information, contact .

North Pacific � Comments Invited on Revised Recovery Plan for Steller Sea Lions

A Draft Revised Recovery Plan for the western and eastern distinct population segments (DPS) of Steller sea lion is now available online. In May 2006, NOAA Fisheries released the draft Steller Sea Lion Recovery Plan for public review and comment, then extended the comment period to provide additional time for public review. Due to extensive public interest and the controversial nature of this recovery plan, NOAA is releasing the Draft Revised Plan for another round of public review. This will provide the public an opportunity to review changes NOAA has made based on earlier public input and to provide further comments prior to release of the final Steller Sea Lion Recovery Plan.

The Draft Revised Plan contains:

1) a comprehensive review of Steller sea lion ecology,
2) a review of previous conservation actions,
3) a threats assessment,
4) biological and recovery criteria for downlisting and delisting,
5) actions necessary for the recovery of the species, and
6) estimates of time and costs for recovery. The plan identifies substantive actions that will foster recovery of the western DPS by addressing the broad range of threats. It highlights three actions that are especially important for the western DPS: maintain current fishery conservation measures; design and implement an adaptive management program to evaluate fishery conservation measures; and continue population monitoring and research on the key threats potentially impeding sea lion recovery.

Comments may be sent to until the close of business on August 20, 2007. For more information, read the Federal Register notice, or contact with any questions.

GOAC3 Presents Options for Seldovia
by Tamara Blodgett
May 11, 2007

Community Fishing Quota provides jobs and more... The non-profit Gulf of Alaska Coastal Communities Coalition (GOAC3) visits small, coastal communities with populations between 20-1500 people to educate/ clarify and assist them on how to obtain Halibut and Sable Fish quota shares via grants and other resources to eligible fisherman and boats. The goal or "target" of the GOAC3 is to facilitate small boats with a 8-12 thousand pound holding capacity to fish up to 50,000 pounds maximum per vessel of Halibut & Sable Fish. Vessels individually or collectively cannot fish more than 50 thousand pounds of either species of IFQ if it fishes for any amount of Community Quota Entity (CQE).
Click here to read story

National - Chairman of House Natural Resources Committee to Introduce Bill to Promote Offshore Aquaculture

Representative Nick J. Rahall, II (D-WV), Chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee, has announced that he will introduce the Administration's bill to help establish an offshore aquaculture industry. The announcement came during a tour of the Mingo County Fish Hatchery in Pie, WV where Rahall and U.S. Secretary of Commerce Carlos M. Gutierrez discussed the Bush Administration's efforts to expand the $1 billion U.S. industry into federal waters under the National Offshore Aquaculture Act of 2007.

This legislation would create a regulatory framework for safe, sustainable aquaculture (fish and shellfish farming) in U.S. federal waters. It includes requirements to ensure that offshore aquaculture proceeds in an environmentally responsible manner, protects wild fish stocks and the quality of marine ecosystems, and is compatible with other uses of the marine environment.

For more information on this announcement, read the Department of Commerce news release or visit www.aquaculture.noaa.gov.

Two developments on the halibut charter front
From Wesloy Loy's "The Highliner" Anchorage Daily News 
April 9, 2007

Alaska�s halibut charter boat saga grinds on. Here�s the latest.

On Friday, the National Marine Fisheries Service published a notice of a proposed rule designed to cut the charter catch in Southeast Alaska (Area 2C). The rule, which would kick in this summer, would allow charter anglers to continue catching and keeping two halibut per person per day, but one of those fish could be no more than 32 inches long with head on.

The effect of the rule would be to reduce the charter catch by an estimated 425,000 pounds.

Commercial halibut longliners would prefer to see the growing charter catch crimped even more than that, but they�ll take it as a start.

Elsewhere, the North Pacific Fishery Management Council has voted in favor of a ban on new charter boats entering the fishery in Southeast and Southcentral Alaska (Area 3A). The �control date� is Dec. 9, 2005, meaning charter operators who started after that date would be shut out. More than 1,200 charter boats were active in 2005.

Again, the goal of regulators is to reduce the growing take of halibut by the charter fleet, which presents growing competition for the commercial fleet.

The competition is most acute in Southeast. According to government figures, the commercial fleet used to take 77 percent of the halibut in Area 2C, but now averages 74 percent. The total catch by all sectors averaged 14.1 million in recent years.

Alaska – Proposal Would Set Maximum Size for Halibut Retained in the Guided Sport Charter Vessel Fishery

At its annual meeting in January 2007, the International Pacific Halibut Commission (IPHC) recommended that a one-fish bag limit should apply to guided anglers in Regulatory Area 2C from June 15 through July 30, and in Area 3A from June 15 through June 30. In a letter to the IPHC on March 1, 2007, the U.S. Secretary of State, with concurrence from the Secretary of Commerce, rejected the recommended one-fish bag limit in Areas 2C and 3A, and indicated that appropriate reduction in the charter vessel harvest in these areas would instead be achieved by a combination of State and Federal regulatory actions.

The goal of this proposed rule is to reduce sport fishing mortality of halibut in the charter vessel sector in Area 2C to a comparable level, in a manner that would reduce adverse impacts on the charter fishery, its clients, and coastal communities. The current bag limit of two halibut per day for a person sport fishing on a charter vessel in Area 2C would be modified to require that at least one of the two fish taken in a day be no more than 32 inches in length. (If only one halibut is retained by the sport fishing client, it could be of any length.) This proposed change is necessary to reduce the halibut harvest in the charter vessel sector while minimizing negative impacts on this sector, its sport fishing clients, and the coastal communities that serve as home ports for the fishery.

Comments may be sent to through April 23, 2007. For more information, contact .

National - Executive Steering Committee Established to Guide Recreational Statistics Redesign

A committee of fisheries managers and scientists from NOAA Fisheries, the interstate marine fisheries commissions, and the regional fishery management councils has been established to lead an upgrade of NOAA's recreational fishing statistics program.  The structure and charge of the group, known as the Executive Steering Committee, was outlined in the Development Plan released publicly last month. Within the next several weeks, the Committee will review the effort's proposed governance structure, establish an operations team and develop a list of possible members, and begin setting milestones and timelines for issue specific work groups. The recently reauthorized Magnuson-Stevens Act gave NOAA Fisheries until January 2009 to implement an improved recreational data program.

Members of the executive Steering Committee include: John Boreman (NOAA Fisheries – Office of Science and Technology), Randy Fisher (Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission), Bob Fletcher (NOAA's Marine Fisheries Advisory Committee and a recreational fisherman), Doug Mecum (NOAA Fisheries – Alaska Regional Office), Vince O'Shea (Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission), Kitty Simonds (Western Pacific Fishery Management Council), Larry Simpson (Gulf States Marine Fisheries Commission), and Nancy Thompson (NOAA Fisheries – Northeast Fisheries Science Center). Tom Gleason (NOAA Fisheries – Management and Budget) will serve as an ex offico member. An additional member may be added to represent the Caribbean region.

For more information, please visit the Office of Science and Technology's Website.

Notice of Guideline Harvest Levels for the Alaska Halibut Charter Fishery

NOAA Fisheries has published official notice of the guideline harvest levels for the halibut charter fishery in the International Pacific Halibut Commission (IPHC) regulatory areas 2C and 3A. These guideline harvest levels are effective through December 31, 2007.

For more information, read the Federal Register notice or contact .

North Pacific - State of Alaska Takes Action to Protect Habitat

In response to a request from NOAA Fisheries, the Alaska Board of Fisheries voted on March 13, 2007, to adopt regulations for state managed fisheries to mirror the federal regulations to protect Essential Fish Habitat (EFH) in the Aleutian Islands and Gulf of Alaska. The state's action completes implementation of a suite of precautionary management measures that stemmed from the 2005 Environmental Impact Statement for Essential Fish Habitat Identification and Conservation in Alaska, prepared by NOAA Fisheries.

The analysis noted that fishing has long term effects on certain seafloor habitat features, but concluded that the effects are minimal because the analysis found no indication that fishing activities in Alaska alter the capacity of EFH to support healthy populations of fish over the long term. Nevertheless, the analysis acknowledged considerable scientific uncertainty about the consequences of habitat alteration and identified practicable management actions that could be taken as a precaution.

The North Pacific Fishery Management Council endorsed a suite of closed areas and gear restrictions for federally managed fisheries to protect EFH in 2005, which NOAA Fisheries implemented by regulation in 2006. Most of the closed areas occur in federal waters, but some are in state waters, and the Council's action did not apply to state managed fisheries occurring in state or federal waters. The recent action by the Alaska Board of Fisheries extends the EFH protection measures to cover state managed fisheries that occur in state or federal waters.

More information, including a map of the closure areas, is available online or contact .

National � Marine Mammal Stock Assessment Reports Finalized

As required by the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA), NOAA Fisheries has incorporated earlier public comments into revisions of marine mammal stock assessment reports. These reports contain information regarding the distribution and abundance of the stock, population growth rates and trends, the stock's Potential Biological Removal level, estimates of annual human-caused mortality and serious injury from all sources, descriptions of the fisheries with which the stock interacts, and the status of the stock. The MMPA requires these assessments to be reviewed at least annually for strategic stocks and stocks for which significant new information is available, and at least once every 3 years for non-strategic stocks.

The final 2006 individual stock assessment reports, as well as regional compilations, are now available online. For more information, read the Federal Register notice or contact .

New Program "Trawlermen"
FROM SEAFOOD.COM MARCH 2007

The popularity of the TV show Deadliest Catch, about Bering Sea crab fishermen, has spawned a knockoff across the pond. The BBC is producing �Trawlermen�, a program that follows haddock skippers in the Shetland Islands. One of the captains said said: 'The popularity of the series has taken everyone by surprise. We've been getting letters and e-mails from people all over the world.� The film crew's latest trip with Jimmy, who catches shellfish, ended in high drama. He said: 'I think they probably got the story they were looking for.'We got into a race with a storm. The storm won. The footage must be pretty riveting.'

North Pacific- Gulf of Alaska Groundfish Management Measures Set for 2007 and 2008
March 14, 2007

NOAA Fisheries has announced 2007 and 2008 final harvest specifications, prohibited species catch limits, and associated management measures for the groundfish fishery of the Gulf of Alaska. This action is necessary to establish harvest limits and associated management measures for groundfish during the 2007 and 2008 fishing years and to accomplish the goals and objectives of the Fishery Management Plan for Groundfish of the Gulf of Alaska. The 2007 and 2008 final harvest specifications and associated management measures are effective through December 31, 2008.

The allowable biological catch (ABC) levels are based on the best available biological and socioeconomic information, including projected biomass trends, information on assumed distribution of stock biomass, and revised methods used to calculate stock biomass. Final total allowable catch (TAC) recommendations were based on the ABCs as adjusted for other biological and socioeconomic considerations. None of the Council's recommended TACs for 2007 and 2008 exceeds the final ABC for any species or species category. The Council recommended TACs for 2007 and 2008 equal to ABCs for pollock, deep-water flatfish, rex sole, sablefish, Pacific ocean perch, shortraker rockfish, rougheye rockfish, northern rockfish, pelagic shelf rockfish, thornyhead rockfish, demersal shelf rockfish, big skate, longnose skate, and other skates. The Council recommended TACs less than the ABCs for Pacific cod, flathead sole, shallow-water flatfish, arrowtooth flounder, other rockfish, and Atka mackerel.

The apportionment of TAC among gear types, processing sectors, and seasons is described in the final rule. For more information, contact .

Draft Strategic Plan Addresses Human Dimensions of Coastal Ecosystems

NOAA's National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science have prepared a Draft Human Dimensions Strategic Plan (FY2008-2013) that supports an ecosystem approach to the management of coastal and ocean resources. Comments on the draft plan may be sent to through March 19, 2007.

For more information, read the Federal Register notice

Charter halibut catch-limit change rejected

Charter boat anglers needn't worry this summer about being limited to keeping only one halibut per day instead of two, as international regulators proposed in January.
Click here for full story

New Magnuson-Stevens Act Webpage Created

NOAA Fisheries has created a new webpage for materials related to the reauthorization of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (MSA). The page currently contains a draft "redline" version of the new MSA, as well as statements and press releases related to the reauthorization. The site will be revised regularly to include fact sheets, notices of upcoming public comment periods, and updates on MSA implementation. The address is: http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/msa2007/.

HALIBUT QUOTAS FOR 2007

The International Pacific Halibut commission on Friday cut coast-wide halibut quotas by about 6%, to 65.1 million pounds. They also restricted charter fishing to one fish per day during certain parts of the seasonl. The high prices of halibut meant the 2006 dockside value of the fishery was near $200 million dockside ($193 million), up about 15% over 2005. 2500 Alaska longliners hold some halibut quota. FOR MORE INFORMATION, GO TO IPHC WEB SITE:

Read Anchorage Daily News Story

NOAA Omnibus Notice of Grant Funds for Fiscal Year 2007
1-27-2007

The NOAA publishes this notice to provide the general public with a consolidated source of program and application information related to its competitive grant and cooperative agreement (CA) award offerings for fiscal year (FY) 2007� The full funding announcement for each program is available via the Grants.gov web site: http://www.grants.gov . Eligible applicants are institutions of higher education, other nonprofits, and state, local and Indian tribal governments in the United States� http://a257.g.akamaitech.net/7/257/2422/01jan20061800/edocket.access.gpo.gov/2006/E6-22176.htm

Application deadline April 30 for 2007 AK Aquatic Farm Applications
1-27-2007

From January 1, 2007 to April 30, 2007 the DNR will be accepting applications for the farming of shellfish and sea plants on state-owned tidelands. The 2007 joint-agency application can now be filled out on-line and printed. Applic`ations will be accepted until 5:00 p.m. on Monday, April 30, 2007� More information is available online

Rural Priorities Survive
Anchorage Daily News 1-27-2007

It's the end This subsistence legal fight is over. For years, opponents of the federal rural subsistence hunting and fishing priority have attacked the law in court, to no avail. This month, their legal war ended not with a bang but with a whimper. The U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear the last-ditch appeal filed by subsistence-priority opponents. Click here for story

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