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Tags: maine | lobsters | fisherman | whales | law | supreme court | paul clement

Maine Fishermen Hire Former Bush DOJ Official in Whale Lawsuit

paul clement speaks outside in washington, d.c.
Lawyer Paul Clement (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

By    |   Tuesday, 11 October 2022 03:05 PM EDT

The Maine Lobstermen's Association is turning to high-powered attorney Paul Clement, who served as U.S. solicitor general during the administration of former President George W. Bush, to represent them in its lawsuit fighting new laws that are intended to protect whales, the The Associated Press reported Tuesday.

"You have administrative overreach. The implications are easy to understand," Clement said Tuesday. "It directly threatens really one of the most iconic American industries. Everyone who has ever enjoyed a lobster can appreciate this."

Clement said the new regulations are pushing the industry "to the brink of collapse."

According to the report, the fishermen sued the National Marine Fisheries Service in September to block the new rules restricting fishing to protect the North Atlantic right whale, which is susceptible to getting caught in the lobstermen's nets and other fishing gear.

The report said that species is endangered, with less than 340 alive today, and environmental groups have been pushing to protect them through more regulation for years.

Based primarily in Maine, the lobster industry throughout New England, New York, and New jersey, brought in around $900 million last year, the report said.

The latest move by the fishermen comes as the group appeals its case to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit after a federal judge ordered the new rules to stand in September.

Maine Gov. Janet Mills, a Democrat, blasted the September decision by the court in a statement standing up for the lobster industry.

"This decision is extremely disappointing, to say the least," Gov. Mills said in the Sept. 8 statement. "The National Marine Fisheries Service has consistently interpreted the data in the most conservative way possible, without accounting for the impact of ship strikes on whales and whale entanglements in Canadian snow crab gear, putting all of the burden for right whale protection squarely on the shoulders of Maine's lobster fishery.

"Maine lobstermen care about the endangered right whale and have undertaken substantial actions to protect them at great personal expense; but the federal government's regulations are simply not based in sound science or proven fact.

"This federal court decision, so out of touch with reality, adds insult to injury to an industry that supports the lives and livelihoods of thousands of Maine families. We will continue to stand with the Maine lobstermen and confer with the Maine Lobsterman's Association concerning next steps."

In his previous 2004-08 role as solicitor general, Clement supervised all litigation for the United States Supreme Court and has argued several cases in front of the court himself, the AP reported.

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Politics
The Maine Lobstermen's Association is turning to high-powered attorney Paul Clement, who served as U.S. solicitor general during the administration of former President George W. Bush, to represent them in its lawsuit fighting new laws that are intended to protect whales.
maine, lobsters, fisherman, whales, law, supreme court, paul clement, lawyer
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2022-05-11
Tuesday, 11 October 2022 03:05 PM
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