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The Atlantic Ocean’s first national monument is under attack!

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With Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke’s sham review of protected national monuments underway, special-interest executives are eagerly anticipating the chance to plunder our public resources—and they’ve singled out the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument as a priority on their hit list.

President Trump’s radical executive order directing Secretary Zinke to review at least 27 national monuments designated since the beginning of 1996 is a thinly veiled scheme by the administration and its industry cronies to shrink or outright destroy protections for our treasured public resources. It’s unconscionable, but the faster they can strip protections from these monuments, the faster they can turn them over to commercial fishing and other special interests.

This isn’t an attack on some remote, faraway place—it’s targeted at our public lands and waters, right off the coast of New England. But you have until July 10 to weigh in on Secretary Zinke’s review. Tell him that we won’t accept anything less than full protection for our national monuments.

After years of campaigning the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts received its national monument designation in September 2016.

Centuries-old cold-water corals are the foundation of this deep-sea ecosystem. The monument protects a cluster of four extinct undersea volcanoes (known as seamounts) and three undersea canyons, each one deeper than the Grand Canyon. By designating this area a national monument, President Obama gave permanent protection to 4,913 square miles of marine habitat about 150 miles southeast of Cape Cod, Massachusetts.

This precious ecosystem provides refuge for hundreds of species of rare and unique marine life—including threatened sperm and North Atlantic right whales. Protecting this area is also critical for the health of our ocean fish, the lifeblood of Atlantic coastal communities. We can’t let the Trump administration open up this area for destruction.

You can fight back now. The Interior Department has opened a comment period for the public to speak up about this review. Now is the time to stand up for Northeast Canyons and Seamounts and push back against efforts to diminish or dismantle national monuments designated under the Antiquities Act.

Any attempt by the executive branch to reverse or shrink a monument designation is unlawful under the Antiquities Act. Only Congress has the authority to modify a national monument. Earthjustice stands ready to defend the Antiquities Act and the national monuments protected under the law.

Urge Secretary Zinke to follow in the footsteps of his hero Teddy Roosevelt by upholding our public resources and keeping Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument intact and protected under the Antiquities Act.

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What You Should Know About The Coral Canyons and Seamounts & New England’s Undersea Treasures


Keep the Atlantic Ocean's first marine monument intact (Re: DOI-2017-0002)

Dear Secretary Zinke,

I support upholding the current boundaries and permitted activities in the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument. It is a special and unique place that deserves the level of protection afforded by national monument status.

This monument contains the only seamounts--extinct underwater volcanoes--in the U.S. Atlantic Ocean, as well as underwater canyons deeper than the Grand Canyon. Scientists have shown that it is a biodiversity hot spot, ranging from endangered whales and puffins at the surface to sharks and fish in the water and fragile, slow-growing corals anchored to the canyons and seamounts.

Hundreds of thousands of advocates, including local businesses, faith-based groups, and elected officials, supported the monument when it was first proposed. Extensive public input led to its creation, including a year for people to provide feedback to the Department of Commerce, public meetings attended by government officials, and extensive consultation with interested stakeholders. Scientific analysis shows that the boundaries of the monument were chosen carefully to include the most important ecologic, oceanographic, and geologic features. Protecting areas like this, which make an outsize contribution to the marine ecosystem, is an important way to support a sustainable fishing future for New England.

Our country's national monuments, both at sea and on land, preserve our historical, cultural, and natural heritage and remind us why America is so exceptional. From the Northeast canyons and seamounts in the U.S. Atlantic to other special places across the country, our national monuments should remain protected for future generations of Americans to enjoy.

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