Conservationists push for Atlantic’s 1st national monument

By The Associated Press

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) _ Conservationists are pushing to create the first marine national monument in the Atlantic Ocean.

Several environmental groups are asking President Barack Obama to permanently protect two areas.

One is an underwater mountain and offshore ecosystem in the Gulf of Maine known as Cashes Ledge.       

The other is a chain of undersea canyons and nearby seamounts about 150 miles off the coast of Cape Cod, Massachusetts, the New England Coral Canyons and Seamounts.

Priscilla Brooks, the Conservation Law Foundation’s director of ocean conservation, says they’re two of the nation’s greatest ocean treasures.

But Maine Republican Gov. Paul LePage believes that marine monuments serve only one purpose to exclude commercial fishing from segments of the ocean. 

(c) The Associated Press / WLNE-TV 2015