Conservation Law Foundation (CLF) released the following statement today in response to US Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross’s refusal to make public his report on marine monuments and sanctuaries. Secretary Ross’s report was mandated by an Executive Order signed by President Donald Trump in April.
“Our natural treasures are resources that belong to all of us, and concealing these recommendations sends a strong message that public interest comes second to political expediency,” said Priscilla Brooks, CLF Director of Ocean Conservation. “The Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument is the only ocean monument in the Atlantic, protecting a vibrant ecosystem full of scientific potential. Withholding recommendations that could decimate this monument’s protections is a slap in the face to New Englanders and to all Americans.”
Throughout the summer, the Department of Commerce accepted comments from members of the public regarding its monument review process. An analysis found that more than 99 percent of comments submitted were in support of maintaining existing protections in America’s marine monuments and sanctuaries.
“If President Trump attempts to undermine the comprehensive protections of New England’s marine monument, it would have significant and lasting implications for our ocean and for future generations,” Brooks continued. “The president has no authority to remove monument protections under the Antiquities Act, and we’re ready to fight this in court.”