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      Meetings to consider setting 750 miles of beach as loggerhead habitat

      CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) -- The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is holding a public hearing on designating 750 miles of beaches from North Carolina to Mississippi as critical habitat for endangered loggerhead sea turtles.

      The hearing Tuesday in Charleston is followed by two North Carolina -- one in Wilmington on Wednesday and in Morehead City on Thursday.

      The Fish and Wildlife Service has estimated it will cost about $150,000 a year to administer the Endangered Species Act along the beaches. The figures reflect the costs of reviews of projects such as beach renourishment that might affect the turtles.

      The National Marine Fisheries Service has proposed waters near the designated beaches, additional waters off North Carolina and Florida and migratory corridors between those two states also designated as critical.

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