A commercial fishing coalition is reportedly suing the Trump administration over a massive marine monument that was created by President Obama off the coast of New England last year.
The fishermen claim that the president’s designation of the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument back in September — under the Antiquities Act — was a “unilateral” action that ultimately wound up causing economic distress and hardship for locals.
In their lawsuit, filed Tuesday in federal court, the groups requested that the move be ruled as unlawful and asked that President Trump not move forward with Obama’s decision.
“The Northeast Canyons and Seamount National Marine Monument purports to designate a monument in the ocean 130 miles from the nation’s coast. This area of the ocean is not ‘lands owned or controlled’ by the federal government,” the suit says.
“Therefore, the Antiquities Act does not authorize the President to establish the Northeast Canyon and Seamounts Marine National Monument.”
The commercial fishing groups that are suing Trump included the Massachusetts Lobstermen’s Association, the Long Island Commercial Fishing Association and the Rhode Island Fishermen Alliance.
Environmental organizations, on the other-hand, have been condemning the lawsuit.
“The president has the authority to declare national monuments, and we believe he did so properly here,” Brad Sewell, of the Natural Resources Defense Council, told the AP.
The Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument is made up of nearly 5,000 square miles of underwater canyons and mountains, which serve as a protective habitat for whales and sea turtles.
While the Antiquities Act of 1906 does not give a president the power to reverse its designation, Trump has been urged by conservatives to do so ever since he was elected.
Obama created several monuments before leaving office, including the Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument in Maine and the sprawling Bears Ears National Monument in Utah.
Last week, Maine Republican Gov. Paul LePage voiced his disapproval with the designation and asked President Trump to intervene. He claimed the Katahdin monument would likely prevent industrial development.
The Utah Legislature also recently approved a resolution, which was signed by the governor, calling on Trump to rescind the Bears Ears monument. They believe the designation ultimately adds another layer of unneeded federal control.