After over a year of being banned from meeting by President Donald Trump's administration, the Cape Cod National Seashore Advisory Commission was able to meet for the first time on Monday at the National Seashore headquarters in Wellfleet. Commissioners discussed the decommissioning of the Pilgrim Nuclear Power Plant and how that could affect the seashore, and also heard plans for addressing shoreline erosion due to this past winter's storms.
Seashore superintendent Brian Carlstrom said while it isn't unusual for a presidential administration to temporarily put advisory commissions on hold, he's unclear about how this administration will handle the commission going forward.
"Typically during administration transitions, they will put a pause on federal advisory commissions, and that's occurred regularly," Carlstrom said. "As to where things are going to head in the future, we're not sure."
The Cape Cod National Seashore Advisory is one of the most active in the country, and the first advisory commission for the National Parks Service, established in 1961. It has nine representatives from surrounding communities who have advised park officials for decades.
Richard Delaney, chair of the commission, said he believes they have served a critical role in park matters.
"We've helped provide the neutral forum to sort issues out, and give a well reasoned, well balanced recommendation to the superintendent," Delaney said. "We served a good role, very helpful I think."
The Commission's federal authorization expires in September of this year. Representative Bill Keating has authored a bill that could extend the commission's authorization another 10 years, until 2028, but it will have to pass in Congress first. The Commission has tentatively scheduled its next meeting for September 24th.