Audubon intervenes to protect ocean monument for puffins | TribLIVE.com
U.S./World

Audubon intervenes to protect ocean monument for puffins

Associated Press
1298639_web1_AP19166574442968
AP
In this Aug. 1, 2014, photo, an Atlantic puffin comes in for a landing on Eastern Egg Rock, a small island off the coast of Maine. The National Audubon Society is getting involved in a lawsuit over the future of a national monument located in the ocean off New England because of the area’s importance to birds. Fishing groups sued in federal court against creation of Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument by former President Barack Obama in 2016. Audubon says the nearly 5,000-square-mile area of ocean is especially important to Maine’s vulnerable Atlantic puffins.

PORTLAND, Maine — The National Audubon Society is getting involved in a lawsuit over the future of a national monument in the ocean off New England because of the area’s importance to seabirds, especially colorfully beaked puffins.

Fishing groups sued in federal court against creation of Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument, which former President Barack Obama designated in 2016. The case is on appeal. Court documents show Audubon has moved to file a friend-of-the-court brief in favor of keeping the monument.

Lawyers for the fishing groups have said the monument was illegally created by Obama using the Antiquities Act. The groups include fishermen, such as lobstermen and crabbers who contend the creation of the monument has created an unfair hardship for them because it restricts where they can fish.

But the nearly 5,000-square-mile area is especially important to Maine’s vulnerable Atlantic puffins, said Karen Hyun, vice president of coasts for Audubon. Protecting the monument area from commercial fishing will help provide the birds with a reliable food source, she said.

The health of the puffin population is a tourism boost for Maine, Hyun added.

“It’s really important for the sustainability of these birds,” Hyun said. “It’s a species that people come to the Maine coast to see, to participate in puffin watching tours.”

A spokesman for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which oversees fisheries and oceans for the federal government, declined to comment.

U.S. District Judge James Boasberg granted the Trump administration’s motion to dismiss the suit against the monument last year. The groups appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.

Oral arguments are not yet scheduled, said Jonathan Wood, an attorney for the fishing groups. The fishermen’s contention that the Antiquities Act applies to the land and not the sea should be enough to overturn the creation of the monument, Wood said.

“A century of presidential practice, judicial precedent, and the Constitution’s separation of powers all show that the answer is no,” he said.

Categories: News | World
TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.