Earlier this month I traveled to New Bedford, the highest-grossing commercial fishing port in our country. I spoke with local seafood workers about a potential marine monument designation off the coast. Such a designation would override the current public process of established fisheries management and could be catastrophic to the 1.8 million-plus jobs that fishing creates.
Fishing leaders expressed concern over restricted access, potential job loss, and the damage to the local fishing industry that would obviously follow a marine monument designation. Instead, they want a better public process created under the House-passed Magnusson-Stevens Act, still pending renewal in the Senate.
Our Founding Fathers feared special interests taking away freedom, but today we have another problem: One man in the Oval Office can lock up land and water from the entire nation with the stroke of a pen. This isn’t the original intent of the Antiquities Act.
This issue is not about partisan politics. It’s about freedom and giving a voice to the individual at every level of government. Now 110 years after its inception, an overhaul of the Antiquities Act is long overdue, and we should fight for local input that the current administration ignores and suppresses.