Commercial fishing groups are joining in federal court to challenge the creation of the Atlantic Ocean's first-ever marine national monument. But the federal government is now asking for the case to be tossed out.
At stake is the future of roughly 5,000 square miles off the coast of Massachusetts called the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts.
President Obama used the federal Antiquities Act to protect the zone in 2016, saying it contained critical wildlife habitat.
The order stopped commercial fishing there, but did allow red crab and lobster fisheries a seven-year window to close up shop.
In a filing Monday, the Department of Justice asked the Court to dismiss the lawsuit.
A lawyer for the plaintiffs says they’ll continue to challenge the monument in court.
This story is a production of the New England News Collaborative and was originally published by WNPR.