Located 130 miles southeast of Cape Cod, the Northeast Canyons & Seamounts Marine National Monument is the ONLY marine national monument in the Atlantic Ocean.
This designation ensures the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts will be preserved for future generations by prohibiting any environment-altering activities, like oil drilling.
The entire monument stretches for 4,913 square miles—about the same size as Connecticut—and it supports a unique ecosystem unlike anywhere else in the world. With that unique ecosystem comes a high degree of biodiversity, including many threatened, endangered, and even undiscovered species.
Connecticut's Congressional delegation—led by Senator Richard Blumenthal—championed the effort to protect the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts, and President Barack Obama designated them as a National Marine Monument in 2016.
Unfortunately, with the election of President Donald Trump, the monument has since come under attack. Since taking office, President Trump has expressed a strong interest in opening up the Canyons and Seamounts to commercial fishing. The monument could also be vulnerable to the Trump Administration's interest in offshore drilling.
In 2017, President Trump used his authority to rescind national monument status on Utah's Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante for commercial development and resource extraction, eliminating two million acres of protected area. This sets a disturbing precedent, and could represent a vulnerability for the Canyons and Seamounts should President Trump decide to pursue offshore drilling.
A federal appeals court is upholding the Canyons and Seamounts Monument as the Atlantic Ocean's first marine national monument. This is the latest judicial confirmation to verify the designation.
In February, 2020 two Blue Whales, our most critically endangered whale species, were spotted at the Canyons and Seamounts monument along with 322 other whale and dolphin species within a six hour period. Read the articles Newsweek and CT Post published.
U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal issued a statement regarding this rollback: "The President's rollback of protections for New England's only national marine monument on World Environment Day is a brazen, intentional slap in the face of all Americans. Instead of focusing on the COVID-19 pandemic or the calls for racial justice, President Trump has taken yet another abhorrent axe to environmental protections. The Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument is a spectacular underwater seascape that is both precious and priceless. Preserving its rich biodiversity and pristine marine ecosystem is simply the right thing to do. I will continue to fight for the protection of this aquatic treasure to ensure that exquisite parts of our planet are protected for our children and grandchildren."
On January 20, 2021,Newly elected President Joe Biden Takes Executive Action to Restore our National Monuments! Environmental groups in Connecticut are applauding President Biden’s Executive Order (EO) on Protecting Public Health and the Environment by Restoring Science to Tackle the Climate Crisis. Among other important actions to protect our environment and address the climate crisis, the EO sets in motion a process to review Trump Administration rollbacks to three National Monuments. This includes New England’s own Marine National Monument, the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts. This 5,000 square mile protected area was established in 2016 under President Obama and is the first National Monument in Atlantic waters.
THE EFFECTS OF CLIMATE CHANGE
Climate change is causing our oceans to become warmer and more acidic, and we are still learning just how this impacting the health of ecosystems like the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts.
Congresswoman DeLauro's support was essential to securing Canyons and Seamounts as the first-ever marine national monument in the U.S. Atlantic Ocean. Now we are asking her to secure $500,000 in research funding to study the impacts of climate change on this monument. Click the button below to join CTLCV in this effort.
The Antiquities Act of 1906 states that once monuments are designated, only Congress has the authority to abolish or modify them according to the Property Clause in the Constitution. Presidents do not have the authority to modify borders or to revoke national monument status.
President Trump has made it clear that he wants to alter any and all national monument status, as he said it was a “massive federal land grab,” and publicly-owned land should be returned back to the states for whatever use they choose, including oil drilling, commercial development, and resource extraction; completely disregarding the fact that these national monuments provide safe habitat for hundreds of species and boost the tourism economy of the states they’re in.
This year lawmakers in Washington DC have introduced S 367 and HR 1050 to strengthen the Antiquities Act of 1906 in order to protect our public lands. The Antiquities Act of 2019 has three main components.
Officially declares Congress’ support for the 52 presidential national monument designations form 1996-2018.
Reinforces that presidential proclamations designating monuments are valid and cannot be diminished except by an act of Congress.
Increases protections for presidentially-designated monuments by mandating that they be surveyed and mapped, and that a management plan be created within two years of the designation. Also by receiving adequate or extra funding to ensure that the monument is providing as much economic or tourist benefits to the state as possible.
The Antiquities Act of 2019 would also establish a National Monument Enhancement Fund to provide $100,000,000 every fiscal year for federal acquisition and development of recreational infrastructure at monuments.