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NV conservation group supports FERC's transmission planning rule; Memorial Day weekend includes Tornadoes and record-high temperatures; A focus on the Farm Bill for Latino Advocacy Week in D.C; and Southeast Alaska is heating homes with its rainfall.

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U.S. Supreme Court allows South Carolina gerrymander that dilutes Black voters, Sen. Ted Cruz refuses to say if he'll accept 2024 election results, and Trump calls Mar-a-Lago search an attempt to have him assassinated.

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Smokey Bear thought only "you" could prevent forest fires, but decomposing mushrooms may also help, a Native American community in Oregon is achieving healthcare sovereignty, and Colorado farmers hope fast-maturing, drought-tolerant seeds will better handle climate change.

Conservationists Mull Lawsuits as Feds Roll Back Ocean Protections

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Tuesday, June 9, 2020   

HARTFORD, Ct. -- Groups that protect the oceans are looking at their legal options after President Donald Trump declared on Friday that commercial fishing soon will be allowed at the only marine national monument in New England.

In 2016, President Barack Obama created the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument, about 150 miles off of the Connecticut coast. Gib Brogan, senior campaign manager with Oceana, said the area is special because when the current hits the seamount, it causes an upwelling of nutrients, creating a feeding ground for many protected species.

"Everything from whales and seabirds to deep-sea corals are found in this monument," Brogan said. "And we're concerned that continuing or adding new fishing activity in this monument will undermine the conservation value of the area."

The original monument designation gave lobster and red-crab fishermen until 2023 to wind down their operations, but this proclamation would eliminate that deadline. The president claims the rollback will help revive the post-COVID economy, but studies show the fishing haul from the monument is only 5% of the fishery.

Brogan worries certain types of commercial fishing, currently prohibited in the monument, could make a comeback - destructive practices that kill off a huge percentage of bycatch.

"It excluded fishing with miles-long strings of baited hooks that are used to catch tuna and swordfish," he said. "It has also prohibited these bottom trawls: nets that are dragged along the sea floor that can scoop up and pulverize corals and sponges."

Brogan said it is unclear exactly how the administration plans to deregulate the monument. The fishing industry already has challenged the legality of the monument in court and lost the case.

The Antiquities Act gives the president the power to create new national monuments but does not grant the power to rescind them.


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