Thurs. hearing on Calif. sanctuaries expansion

Plans to expand two ocean sanctuaries and put all of Sonoma County’s coast and a third of Mendocino’s off limits to oil drilling are set to get their first public airing Thursday in Bodega Bay.

Federal officials are scheduled to hold a 6 p.m. hearing at the town’s Grange Hall to discuss the proposed expansion of the protected ocean areas, announced by the Obama administration and congressional representatives last month.

Under the proposal, the Gulf of the Farallones and Cordell Bank national marine sanctuaries would take in an additional 2,770 square miles, including more than 60 miles of coast from Bodega Bay to Point Arena, in southern Mendocino County.

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