Supreme Court declines to hear challenge to Obama marine monument designation
The Supreme Court has declined to hear a challenge to former President Obama’s designation of a national monument 130 miles off the coast of Cape Cod, Mass.
Chief Justice John Roberts wrote in a statement issued Monday that “despite concerns” about the designation of the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument, the lawsuit does not “satisfy our usual criteria” for reviewing cases.
Specifically, he cited a lower court’s finding that the fishing groups opposed to the monument designation did not present sufficient facts to show that it exceeded a requirement that the president designate the “smallest area compatible with proper care and management of the objects to be protected.”
“To date, petitioners have not suggested what this critical statutory phrase means or what standard might guide our review of the President’s actions in this area,” Roberts wrote.
His decision upholds a 2019 appeals court ruling in favor of the monument.
Obama established the monument in 2016 to protect deep sea environments and marine life.
The 4,913-square-mile monument includes several undersea mountains and canyons and is often visited by whales, dolphins, turtles, swordfish, sharks and Atlantic puffins and is home to deep-sea coral.
Former President Trump reopened the monument to commercial fishing last year.
That move was criticized by marine life advocates, who said it could threaten species in the area, while fishing groups said it would generate millions of dollars for their industry.
President Biden put Trump’s decision under review through an executive order issued on his first day in the White House earlier this year.
–Updated at 2:51 p.m.