What Obama designates Trump takes away, and in the case of a recent decision to open the almost 5,000-square-mile Northeast Canyons and Seamounts National Monument, what may be taken away if the move is allowed to stand cannot be replaced.
The monument lies about 200 miles east-southeast of Montauk in water up to 7,000 feet deep. The complex underwater terrain of canyons and sharp rises supports a wildly diverse range of life and provides a safe feeding ground for seabirds as well as commercially important fish species. There are whales there, and sea turtles, and rare centuries-old sea corals. After President Obama created the vast preserve in 2016, fishing and other extractive industries were banned there.
Following President Trump’s declaration, environmental groups sued, arguing that only Congress has the power to undo a presidentially designated national monument. It is our hope they prevail.