Keating Files Legislation Backing Chatham in Monomoy Dispute

Chatham-Photowalk-MAY-2016.-SEALS-HAULED-OUT-OFF-LIGHTHOUSE-BEACH--350x350CHATHAM – Legislation has been filed by Congressman William Keating that would favor Chatham and the state over the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in the dispute over the western boundary of the Monomoy National Wildlife Refuge.

Fish and Wildlife’s 15-year management plan for the refuge, which was approved this year, claims the service controls 4,000 acres of water and submerged lands west of Monomoy.

The town and state have always controlled that area and contends the claim.

The town and Fish and Wildlife could not come to a Memorandum of Understanding for fishery management in the area until ownership could be determined.

“We are grateful to the Congressman for finally getting legislation dropped as he committed. He did do that,” said Chatham Selectmen Seth Taylor. “And we are grateful and appreciative for the fact that it is filed.”

Taylor was hoping the legislation could have been filed sooner and does not believe it will be passed by Congress during the current legislative session.

“I doubt very strongly there is much of a chance for this to move through and be resolved before the next Congress is seated in January,” Taylor said.

Taylor said the town will work diligently to garner legislative support.

The dispute left the town with two options to fight the claim of management by Fish and Wildlife – legislation and litigation.

Taylor said the legislative option was the only one that made sense.

“Legislation is just the various levels of government shooting our collective selves in the head,” he said. “It’s town tax dollars, state tax dollars and federal tax dollars to enter the courts system and have a legal brouhaha, which is why we preferred to chase this down through legislation.”

By BRIAN MERCHANT, CapeCod.com NewsCenter

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