A U.S. appeals court on Friday upheld a decision by former President Barack Obama to designate a section of submarine land off New England coast as a national monument.
In a written document, the court upheld an earlier decision from D.C.'s district court and ruled that Presidents have the power to establish marine monuments under the Antiquities Act, 1906, The Hill reported.
The legislation gives the President of the United States the authority to, by presidential proclamation, create national monuments from federal lands to protect significant natural, cultural, or scientific features.
"Like one of America's very first national monuments, the Grand Canyon, the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts is a natural treasure," Kate Desormeau, senior attorney for the Natural Resources Defense Council, said in a statement on the protected area.
"It provides habitat for a wide range of species, from endangered whales to Atlantic puffins to centuries-old deep-sea corals. Today's decision affirms that presidents have the authority to protect marine areas like this for the benefit of current and future generations. Preserving ocean areas like this one will be absolutely key to ensuring the resilience of our oceans in a changing climate," Desormeau said.
Groups representing fishermen, lobstermen and crabbers, however, contended that the designation of the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument in 2016 created a hardship because it imposed restrictions on where they could fish.
The Massachusetts Lobstermen's Association and other commercial fishing groups, in a previous lawsuit, had argued that designating the area a monument was not consistent with the National Marine Sanctuaries Act, pushing to open the area to the industry once again.
The monument was created to protect about 5,000 square miles of offshore land off the New England coast.
( With inputs from ANI )