Trump Administration Defends Obama’s Atlantic Monument

Fan coral in Oceanographer Canyon. Image courtesy of Northeast Canyons 2013 Science Team/NOAA Okeanos Explorer Program.

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — The Trump administration is defending former President Barack Obama’s Atlantic Ocean monument and asking a judge to dismiss a lawsuit from fishermen trying to eliminate it.

The fishing groups sued to challenge the 2016 creation of the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument. The monument is a 5,000-square-mile area off New England and is the first of its kind in the Atlantic Ocean.

The Commerce Department is arguing the president clearly has the authority under the federal Antiquities Act to establish national monuments. The lawsuit was filed in federal court in Washington, D.C.

Marine national monuments are underwater areas designed to protect unique or vulnerable ecosystems. Fishing groups say it takes too large of an area away from fishermen who harvest valuable species such as lobsters and crabs.

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