Walker pulls Lake Michigan shoreline from National Marine Sanctuary consideration

Gov. Scott Walker has withdrawn his nomination for a National Marine Sanctuary off Wisconsin's eastern shore, saying it could result in too much bureaucracy and red tape.

The National Marine Sanctuary would have stretched from Two Rivers south to Port Washington, protecting dozens of historical shipwrecks.

It would have become the second designated marine sanctuary in the Great Lakes and the 15th nationwide.

The governor informed the National Oceanic and Aeronautic Administration (NOAA) he came to the decision after listening to concerned citizens, and rescinded the nomination he submitted in 2014.

In a joint statement Thursday, the cities of Sheboygan, Manitowoc, Two Rivers and Port Washington said the decision comes at the expense of additional tourism dollars. They believe NOAA was on its way to completing the process later this year or in early 2019, and NOAA would have helped with locating and preserving about 80 shipwrecks.

"The governor’s decision represents a missed opportunity for all of us," Port Washington Tourism Council Executive Director Kathy Tank said in the statement. "With roughly 33% of State visitor spending occurring
each year along the I-43 corridor and our harbor communities preparing for tourism growth from the Designation of our Wisconsin Sanctuary, our business partners were very well-positioned to capture additional tourism dollars."