Audubon intervenes to protect ocean monument for puffins

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — The National Audubon Society is getting involved in a lawsuit over the future of a national monument located in the ocean off New England because of the area’s importance to birds.

Fishing groups sued in federal court against creation of Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument by former President Barack Obama in 2016. The case is on appeal.

Court documents show Audubon has moved to file a friend-of-the-court brief in favor of keeping the monument.

Audubon says the nearly 5,000-square-mile area of ocean is especially important to Maine’s vulnerable Atlantic puffins.

Lawyers for the fishing groups have said the monument was illegally created by Obama using the Antiquities Act. It says the act can be used to authorize national monuments on land but not in the ocean.

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