Maine Lobstermen Get a Big Win Over Biden; Admin's Hypocrisy Faces Big Questions and Investigation

(AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty, File)

There are a lot of people who have been suffering under the Biden regime, from being crushed by Bidenflation to being oppressed by his overregulation.

The lobstermen of Maine know all too well about that second part.

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The Biden administration’s National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) imposed a rule that could gut what is already a challenging industry. The lobstermen challenged Biden in court.

Last year, the Maine Lobstermen’s Association (MLA) sued the Biden administration’s National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) for its new rule that the government said was aimed at protecting the endangered North Atlantic right whale, but that lobstermen claimed threatened to put family-owned lobster fisheries out of business.

That rule imposed operating limits on lobster fisheries and set new technical standards on how much lobster trap rope could be in the water, which would cut in half the number of traps that could be deployed.

NMFS defended its rule in court by saying that the Endangered Species Act (ESA) demands that the agency make rules based on assumptions of worst-case scenarios and “give the benefit of the doubt” to the endangered species.

So the Biden team cares about the endangered whale; they just don’t care about the endangered lobstermen or their families’ ability to eat.

But the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit wasn’t having any of this, giving the lobstermen a big win against the Biden team.

Judge Douglas Ginsburg lit up the NMFS in his opinion.

“The Service’s legal reasoning was not just wrong; it was egregiously wrong. The Service’s argument rested entirely upon a half-sentence in the legislative history. This ‘approach is a relic from a bygone era of statutory construction,'” Ginsburg said.

“Under the Service’s approach, legislative history may supply duties that, as the Service now concedes, are not found in the enacted law. As the Supreme Court recently said, ‘We cannot approve such a casual disregard of the rules of statutory interpretation.’ The reason is obvious; as any high school Civics student should know, legislators vote on and the president signs bills, not their legislative history,” he continued.

Judge Ginsburg also seemed to call out the agency for historical hypocrisy in its rulemaking. “Only a few years ago, the Service, revisiting its interpretive rules, agreed with commenters that ‘nothing’ in the ESA required it to use ‘a “worst-case scenario” or make unduly conservative modeling assumptions,’ and rejected comments arguing it should give the benefit of the doubt to a species by evaluating ‘effects or activities that were possible even if not likely.'” he said.

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Dustin Delano, former vice president of the MLA and now chief operating officer of the New England Fishermen’s Stewardship Association (NEFSA), cheered the ruling, calling it a “rare and long-sought victory for lobstermen.” He said this “skewed and unjustified approach” could have “destroyed an iconic trade.” He said this was hurting the industry all to cave to environmentalists.

How skewed was all this? According to the MLA, right whales don’t even inhabit the Maine coast. The last reported entanglement with a whale with a Maine lobsterman was in 2004. There’s no documented serious injury or death to a whale since then in that area. So what is the point here besides putting the fishermen out of business?

On top of all that, the Maine fishermen had paid out all kinds of money to avoid such issues, but the government still wanted to sit on top of them.

As we previously reported, even Democrat Rep. Jared Golden (D-ME) has called out the Biden administration on this in the past; that’s how bad it was for the fishermen.

“In 2020, while running for president, Biden pledged, ‘I will work to protect the livelihood and safety of the fishing community,’ in reference to lobstermen. He has yet to take a single action to make good on that pledge,” Golden said in October. “You cannot espouse being a president for working people while simultaneously overseeing the destruction of an entire blue-collar fishery and its community’s heritage and way of life.”

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Golden also busted Biden for the hypocrisy of having a big lobster feast for the French State Dinner when what he was doing was so hurting the industry.

Biden claims he’s for the working man, but everything he does proves otherwise. Republicans should pound this home and tell the American people how much he is hurting workers like the lobstermen as much as they can during the campaign.

But the kicker to all this is that some believe Biden and his green cohort may be more of a danger to the whales than the Maine lobstermen. As my colleague Bob Hoge has reported, there’s a big controversy over what’s been causing the deaths of a lot of whales off the shores of New York and New Jersey. Some believe that it’s because of the building of wind turbines in the ocean in the affected areas, although the government and some scientists dispute this.

Here’s a New Jersey state senator calling out the problem and noting it’s bad for tourism too.

Now, the Government Accountability Office has opened an investigation into the impacts of that offshore wind development along the New Jersey coastline amid calls for a moratorium after the whale deaths. Here was Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ) back in March calling for that investigation.

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“This aggressive, independent investigation into the ocean-altering impacts of the 3,400 offshore wind turbines slated for the Jersey Shore will help address the wide-ranging questions and concerns that the Biden Administration and Governor [Phil] Murphy continue to dismiss as they plow full steam ahead with this unprecedented offshore wind industrialization of our shore,” Smith said in a statement. [….]

Since December, at least 39 whales and 37 dolphins have been found stranded on East Coast beaches near where energy developers have been conducting offshore wind surveys, according to local officials. [….]

Days after taking office, President Biden issued an executive action ordering his administration to expand opportunities for the offshore wind industry as part of his aggressive climate agenda to curb greenhouse gas emissions and stop global warming. Months later, he outlined goals to deploy 30 gigawatts of offshore wind energy by 2030, the most ambitious goal of its kind worldwide.

But if we applied that same “worse case scenario” standard that the Biden team wanted to apply to the lobstermen, then they’d have to apply rules to these turbines. Of course, we’re not seeing that.

Just a little more hypocrisy from Joe Biden.

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