March 18, 2003 U. S. District Court (D.C.) Hearing
Statement by Craig Manson, Assistant Secretary of Interior for Fish and Wildlife and Parks
"The Department of the Interior and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service are pleased that the judge has approved and signed the Stipulated Order and has vacated the contempt proceedings against the department. We believe the Stipulated Order is an important step forward to conserve manatees. Manatee conservation is best done collaboratively, and we will reach out to work closely with the State of Florida and affected stakeholders. We are on schedule to submit a proposed rule for additional manatee refuges and sanctuaries to the Federal Register on or before March 31, 2003. In addition, we are making positive progress on the other manatee conservation issues."