At Corporations’ Behest, Republicans Launch Coordinated Legislative and Legal Attack on Marine Monuments at Today’s 10:00 a.m. Hearing
Washington, D.C. – In an effort to undermine the Antiquities Act, Committee Republicans are holding a hearing this morning to attack Presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush’s uses of the Act by falsely claiming they overreached when they designated national marine monuments in the Pacific and Atlantic oceans. Ranking Member Raúl M. Grijalva (D-Ariz.) points out that the hearing is part of Chairman Rob Bishop’s (R-Utah) larger plan to push his anti-public lands agenda through Congress. The Center for Biological Diversity released a report yesterday identifying Chairman Bishop as number two on the list of the top 15 public lands enemies in Congress.
“Chairman Bishop has been laying the groundwork to make it easier for Congress to give away America’s public lands, and he’s now expanding his scope to our oceans too,” Grijalva said. “I find it ironic that the same Republicans who ignored fishing industry concerns when they were pushing for drilling in the Atlantic and trying to gut the Magnuson-Stevens Act are suddenly the fishermen’s best friends when there is an opportunity to use them to get rid of the Antiquities Act.”
The hearing is clearly a coordinated effort by Committee Republicans and outside groups. In advance of the hearing, Chairman Bishop sent a letter to President Trump asking him to open up all marine monuments to fishing. And last week the Pacific Legal Foundation, a group underwritten by the same right-wing foundations that bankroll climate denial conspiracy theorists, filed a lawsuit to overturn the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument.
The fishing industry takes part in the marine monument designation process, and compromises have been made to reduce the size of monuments and make other concessions based on the industry’s concerns. Scientific studies show that marine reserves actually benefit sustainable fisheries by protecting large fish of reproductive age, preserving the ecosystems fish need to survive, and providing an important buffer against the impacts of climate change.
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