Schwarzenegger Cuts Moola for California Marine Reserves Plan

In a boon for headline-writers who still haven’t exhausted their Terminator puns, California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) has put an indefinite hold on planning for a more than 1,000-mile-long necklace of no-fishing marine reserves along the California coast — mandated by a 1999 state law designed to restore the coastal environment and fish populations. His administration claims that the estimated $1.7 million – $2.3 million required to complete planning by the Jan. 1, 2005, deadline simply cannot be found in the beleaguered state budget. To make matters worse, the state Department of Fish and Game’s technical staff in the marine division has shrunk by a third due to the state’s hiring freeze. A coalition of environmental groups say they have repeatedly offered to raise private funds to move the marine-reserve plan forward. The plan has long been opposed by fishing groups, who lauded Schwarzenegger ‘s decision.