December 16, 2015

Jones demands information on
designation of "no fishing zones'





U.S. Rep. Walter B. Jones, R-N.C., has signed onto a Freedom of Information Act request to the Department of Interior, asking for all correspondence relating to federal lands that were considered, analyzed, or designated as national monuments since January 20, 2009, when President Obama began his first term as president.

In the past six years, special interest groups have been pushing the Obama administration to use the Antiquities Act to lock up large tracts of federal land – both onshore and offshore – by designating these areas “national monuments.” Lands that a so designated can be closed to fishing.

Led by Arizona Congressman Paul Gosar, the FOIA request comes in response to increasing speculation that President Obama may follow the example of his predecessor, George W. Bush, and unilaterally designate large swaths of America as “national monuments.”

In September, Congressman Jones became a cosponsor on H.R. 330, the Marine Access and State Transparency (MAST) Act. The bill would prevent President Obama, or any future president, from unilaterally designating offshore areas as “national monuments” and restricting the public’s ability to fish there. Instead, the bill would require a president to get the approval of Congress and the legislature of each state within 100 nautical miles of the monument before any “monument” designation could take effect.

“Presidents from both parties have abused their monument designation authority for far too long,” said Congressman Jones.  “No president should be allowed to just lock up millions of acres of fishing grounds by fiat, with no public input whatsoever.  Frankly, it’s un-American, and it must be stopped.  The public deserves to know about any back room conversations between special interest groups and the Obama administration regarding shutting down large parts of our coast to fishing.”



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