To Protect Lobstermen, Spending Bill May Speed Whales’ Extinction: Enviros

"Maine lawmakers pushed for a provision that would block stricter federal regulations aimed at protecting right whales from entanglements in fishing gear".

"Lawmakers from Maine have inserted a provision in a massive government funding bill to buffer lobstermen from new regulations, but environmental groups warn it could push the critically endangered North Atlantic right whales to the brink of extinction.

The provision could sharply curtail the federal government’s ability to prevent right whales from getting entangled in fishing lines used to catch lobsters, environmentalists say. But the bipartisan group of Maine lawmakers that pushed to include the provision, known as a policy rider, contend that the government has sought to regulate the state’s lobstermen out of business.

The language in the legislation released Tuesday sets up a clash over the species’ survival on Capitol Hill just days before government funding runs out at midnight Friday. Congress is racing to pass a set of bills, known as an omnibus, that would fund federal agencies through the fiscal year that ends Sept. 30."

Maxine Joselow reports for the Washington Post December 20, 2022.

Source: Washington Post, 12/21/2022