Bush's marine monuments illegal, lawyers say

Former President George H.W. Bush did not have the authority under the Antiquities Act to manage fishing activity in huge swaths of the Pacific Ocean, including the areas around the CNMI's three northernmost islands, based on an analysis of two lawyers writing in an American Bar Association newsletter.

The authors-James P. Walsh and Gwen Fanger of the San Francisco office of the law firm Davis Wright Tremaine LLP-published their analysis in the August 2009 edition of ABA's Marine Resources Committee Newsletter.

A copy of the newsletter can be accessed at http://www.abanet.org/environ/committees/marine/newsletter/aug09/MarineR....

Walsh and Fanger said Bush created the Pacific marine protected areas using the authority under the Antiquities Act “without in-depth scientific and environmental analysis, and without formal public comment.”

“Despite the alleged need to protect the marine areas because of environmental concerns, none of the Pacific MPAs [marine protected areas] were accompanied by any scientific analysis regarding the actual threat of fishing activity to the health of the marine ecosystems in the Pacific MPAs,” they said.

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